Lifland Skatepark came to life Saturday for the official opening of the concrete course for area skaters and bikers of all ages.
In the works for several years, the skatepark, which is open for bikers, rollerbladers, skateboarders and non-motorized scooters, is the city's newest sporting attraction in the 1700 block of West Fourth Street between Elm Park and the original Little League baseball fields.
Sally Butterfield, a city resident who helped make the park a reality with a $40,000 donation in memory of her parents - Fay and Paul Lifland - gave credit to Lonnie Wilcox, who helped spearhead the project.
CRAIG S. McKIBBEN JR./Sun-Gazette
Skateboarder Cayman Trostle, of Williamsport, gets air over a vertical concrete obstacle during the grandopening
celebration of Lifland Skatepark in Williamsport on Saturday afternoon.
"This was really Lonnie's dream," she said. "He gets a lot of credit for making it happen."
Butterfield, Wilcox and Mayor Gabriel J. Campana cut the red ribbon in front of the skatepark just after 11 a.m. as small children climbed the concrete ramps before skaters and bikers took to the surface.
Campana said he supported Wilcox's dream since the beginning, calling the facility a "wonderful addition" that was "long overdue."
The opening was celebrated with live bands and demonstrations.
The park is free and open to the public from dawn to dusk, but riders must obtain a free sticker for their helmets that allows access to the facility.
Stickers are available by signing a waiver at the City Hall recreation office; Pretas Skateshop, 620 Hepburn St.; Bicycle Center, 909 Main St., South Williamsport; and Harvest Gallery, 46 1/2 West Fourth St.
Those under 18 will need a parent or guardian's signature to obtain the sticker.
Helmets are required to use the skatepark. Wilcox stressed that the facility is ride at your own risk.
Nick Cipriani, of Loganton, was there with his 4-year-old son, Ryder. Nick said he's an "ex-BMX guy" who came out to support Wilcox, his friend. He said he was active with other city skateparks in the past.
"It's a shame it took this long to get around again, but it's here," he said. "I just hope it stays beautiful like this."
Another friend of Wilcox's - Sam Polys, of Cogan Station - came to the opening ceremony with his son, Jesse, 10.
"I used to skate back in the day," Polys said. "We're psyched we finally got something here."
Jesse said it was his first look at the skatepark.
"I'm just learning," he said.
Thom Gallup, of Williamsport, is another skater with a long history of riding at city skateparks.
Gallup, who also serves on the park's board of directors, said the new park "is fast, is smooth; it flows very well."
He said he was impressed by the number of younger skaters taking part in Sunday's opening.
"Age kind of dissolves in skateboarding," the 42-year-old said.
For Wilcox, work on the park is a labor of love. He was putting finishing touches of paint on the concrete ramps until 8 p.m. Saturday night, he said.
Still, he said he was pleased with the turnout Sunday.
"I couldn't ask for anything more," he said.
Wilcox said the skatepark board of directors will continue fundraising efforts to complete the second phase of the facility, which will include street-style obstacles.
He said the group is planning a spring and fall "skatepark rock and roll" fundraising event for next year.
More information on Lifland Skatepark can be found at www.facebook.com/williamsportskatepark.