The first skateboards in the U.S. were started in the late 1940s using wooden boxes, or boards, with roller skate wheels attached to the bottom. Crate scooters preceded skateboards, having a wooden crate attached to the front of the board which was formed with rudimentary handlebars. Soon the boxes turned into planks, similar to the skateboard decks of today.
And now our neighborhood has a new skatepark located near NE Killingsworth and 30th St and adjacent to Jet Black Coffee (5308 NE 30th Ave). Curated and designed lovingly by property owner Thomas Grace and his family, the park design follows the waves and curves influenced by water and their love of nature.
Grace’s friends at Collective Concrete helped him design and create a half pipe four years ago on his 50’ x 100’ vacant lot. After selling his house in 2022, he had the funds to add a wave inspired sculpture to the space. The park and the sculpture will be lovingly dedicated to Grace’s deceased wife, Rachel. She unfortunately passed in 2022 during a recreational water incident. After the dedication, the park will be called the “Rachel Grace Memorial Skate Plaza”. Her memory will live on.
Grace remembers that, “There was nothing that Rachel embarked on that she did not master. She cherished her family above all else and made everyone around her feel they were a part of hers. Rachel brought joy and light to everyone who knew her. She was the embodiment of unconditional love.”
Though the park is on private property, Grace allows the public to respectfully use the park. He lives next door to the park and above the coffee shop which he and Rachel once owned. Grace is a local chiropractor and owner of Natural Pain Solutions, adjacent to the building at 3007 NE Emerson St.
The park can be enjoyed by people aged 5 to 65, including Grace’s four sons and stepsons who are 15 to 21 years old. Enjoy your skating but please; no later than 10PM. Have fun!
After living east, south, north and west, Marsha Sandman is home at last. And she wants to hear your story. Contact her at MarshaJSandman@gmail.com.