Emporia teen gains support in effort to improve local skatepark

Local News

EMPORIA, Kan. (KSNT) — Thirteen-year-old Maddox Gutierrez just started coming out to the Southwest Santa Fe Skatepark about four months ago when he first took up skateboarding.

“It’s actually like one of my favorite things I do right now and I take a lot of pride in it,” said Gutierrez.

Now, he’s working to get the attention of city leaders to make what he says are some much needed upgrades to the skatepark.

Any day of the week, you can find anywhere from a dozen to thirty people out at the Southwest Santa Fe Skatepark showing off their best tricks and trying out new ones.

Gutierrez spends a lot of time at the skatepark, and recently noticed several skateboarders had expressed that they were no longer satisfied with what it has to offer.

“All of my friends they complain about it being too small,” said Gutierrez. “There’s not enough obstacles and it gets boring after like 30 minutes or so.”

So, he decided to start a petition to get improvements made to the skatepark. Some of those improvements include a new paint job and an expansion to make it more user friendly for all skill levels.

So far, it’s received over one thousand signatures.

One of many people supporting Maddox’s effort is community advocate Jay Vehige.

“I was all for it,” said Vehige. “My generation likes to skate as well. So, back in the day, we tried to expand it, but of course resources were limited. But, it’s great to see the young people standing up and I’m here to support them in that.”

Maddox said he’s been blown away by all the support he’s received. He plans on presenting his petition and suggestions to city leaders and hopes that the upgrades he’s envisioned for the park will become a reality.

Regardless of the result, he’s showing that you’re never too young to lead.

“Don’t be afraid to do it,” said Gutierrez. “You really gotta take the next step if no one else is going to.”

Vehige said he and Maddox are working to round up specific improvements that those who come to the skatepark would like to see. Even if they just get one of those upgrades to be made, Maddox said it will make a big difference.

You can sign Maddox’s petition HERE.

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