by Dave Friemuth

If you live in the Midwest and are trying to decide which park to go to, here’s the answer¿all of them. These places are heated and it’s probably freezing outside! For a better description of what each park on this trip was all about, read Dave Friemuth’s descriptions below.

Green Acres Skatepark
6690 Edmonson Avenue NE
Monticello, MN 55362
(612) 295-3787
Bikes allowed every day
Green Acres is one of the few bike-friendly parks in the Twin Cities area, and even though it’s nearly an hour away from Minneapolis, the riding scene is unreal. On any given day you can find Jim Reinstra and Jeremy Fanburgh rippin’ though the park, not to mention the locals who all seem to kick ass. If you’re lucky you might even catch Tom Haugen home from GT summer tour, or if it’s a weekend you’re sure to see BMX enigma Krt Schmidt destroying the mini-ramp. The best part of all is if you’re tired, bored, or just need a break from the park, you can usually catch someone outside flyin’ around on an assortment of recreational vehicles that they keep at the park¿four wheelers, snowmobiles, and even jet skis during the summer. But if it’s girls you’re looking for between runs, you’ll have better luck trying Jim’s van in the parking lot than inside the skatepark.

Area 51 Skatepark
1330 W. Wisconsin Ave
Appleton, WI 54915
(920) 954-8412
Bikes allowed everyday
Area 51 is about an hour-and-a-half north of Milwaukee. The park mainly consists of an 8000 square-foot street course and a six-foot straight mini ramp. The street course has a little bit of everything, and is pretty much divided into two sides that helps to keep the rollerbladers and skateboarders out of the way. By far the best sessions go down when guys like Jim, Chad, and Brian Vowell are in town. But don’t get me wrong, there are lots of local kids that rule, too¿except this one old guy. He’s there almost everyday flying around on his blue Huffy like he owns the place, scaring little kids, and just being an all around ass. So watch out!

4 Seasons Skatepark
200 N. 25th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53233
(414) 933-PARK
Bikes allowed every night
4 Seasons is located one block off of I-94, roughly ten minutes from downtown Milwaukee. We actually got a sneak preview of the park two days before it opened to the public. From what I hear, they’ve been turning people away every day since the doors opened. I’m sure the three-tier clover bowl, two mini ramps, and 10,000 square-foot street course have something to do with that. The owner, Neal Levin (formerly of Rewind Clothing), wasn’t messing around when he decided to build a park in the Milwaukee area. He entirely revamped an old 1940’s warehouse from top to bottom and hired Team Paine to help with some of the dirty work. He even made a conscious effort to have an entirely “BMX” side of the street course. My only complaint with the whole place would be the pool coping on the deep end of the bowl which pegs and sprockets aren’t allowed to touch. So rig up some PVC covers for your pegs and you’re in business. I know it sounds corny, but trust me, it’ll be worth it.

2350 Hassell Rd.
Hoffman Estates, IL 60195
(847) 884-0945
Bikes allowed every day except Saturdays from 10am-1pm
Well, I don’t know what I can tell you about Scrap that you don’t already know. It seems no matter how much the place changes it always stays the same. Actually it isn’t as bad as all that. The box and wooden rhythm are super-fun, and Jim said the vert ramp didn’t completely suck, so I guess that’s a good thing. Plus, all the Chicago guys are always fun to ride with¿the Superheroes, Jimmy “Boom-Boom” Walker, the Team JV kids, and anytime I get to ride with Brian Vowell is always the best. And besides, the super cute girl at the concession stand turns 18 in Ma so…

Triple R Skatepark (Ramps, Rails, and Roll)
1025 Campus Drive
Mundelein, IL 60060
(847) 549-9950
Bikes allowed Tuesdays from 7-10pm and Saturdays from 9pm-midnight
Triple R is about an hour north of Chicago just off I-94 in Mundelein, Illinois. It wasn’t the most bike-friendly park on our tour, but I’d still say that if you’re in the Chicago area on a Tuesday or Saturday night, it’s definitely worth the trip. Any park that Rick Moliterno says is his favorite park ever has to be good. The owners are real strict about the membership fees, but if you can convince them that you’re from out of town and that it’s the only time you’ll be there, they’ll usually waive the fee. By far, the best thing in the park is the six-foot heart-shaped bowl in the back¿yet another Team Paine creation. After being at the park only twice, I think Jim and I have clocked at least seven hours in the bowl. It was so good that we didn’t even want to touch the rest of the place. The street course is really geared more towards skaters, but it’s set up super-well allowing limitless possibilities.

Transitions Skatepark
5618 Vanborn Ct.
Dearborn Heights, MI
(313) 299- 9205
Bikes allowed every day
You can get a good look at Transitions in the Michigan scene report in the new issue of Props. By far, the highlights are the wooden rhythm and the six-foot mini spine. Everything else in the park is really tight and the ceilings are low, but if it’s not too packed it’s definitely a good time. From the way it sounds, the park has just rented the rest of the building they’re in, which will almost double the size and help to solve most of their space problems. If you stop in, be sure to fly over to Albe’s and say hi to Todd Fromalbes and Mark Flipowitz (who rides Transitions so well he has his own fan club). And from what I hear, you get a free Albe’s shirt if you go in and say Todd’s real last name three times in a row, but I could be wrong.

Section 8
770 N. Main St.
Hubbard, OH 44425
(330) 534-5494
Bikes allowed everyday
Somewhere along the tour Mark asked us what we thought was the best park in the country. At the time we all had different answers¿Chenga, Burnside, etc. But by the end of the trip, it was pretty much unanimous that for its size, Youngstown is probably the best park we’ve ever been to. It just seems to have it all¿a huge box, vert wall, grind bars, six-foot mini spine, bowl, wallrides, railings, subs, and transfers throughout. And besides all of that, everyone there is really cool. I don’t think I’ve ever been there when there hasn’t been a crazy session going on. Everyone there just seems to go off all the time¿Kris Bennett, Pat Deangles, Joe Cupp, countless rad locals, and Nate Wessel, who is pretty much responsible for building the entire park. So hats off to the owners, Joe and Steve, for a job well done. You guys rule.

Chenga World Skatepark
38835 Center Ridge Rd.
North Ridgeville, OH 44039
(440) 353- 3219
Bikes allowed everyday (Chenga has a flatland area, too).
Chenga’s another park that I can’t say enough good stuff about. One thing that you can find at Chenga that you can’t find at any other park that I know of is a striving flatland scene. That’s probably due to the fact that it’s owners, Scott Powell and Dave Schaeffer, mainly started the park so that they’d have an indoor place to ride flat during the winter. But once Nate Wessel got his hands on the place, it was on. It seems that wherever Wessel goes, amazing parks follow. Chenga has to be one of my favorite places to ride, ever. Even though the ceilings are low, the park is so big that even when it’s packed it’s still fun to ride. Plus, there’s every possible ramp you can think of, and even a couple that only Nate could think of. Not to mention the wooden rhythm, which was the first ever, and still remains the best ever.¿Dave
t only Nate could think of. Not to mention the wooden rhythm, which was the first ever, and still remains the best ever.¿Dave