Skatopia: A skater’s paradise
Brewce Martin has skating in his blood.
He has always wanted to own a skate park, and in 1995, he finally got his wish.
Brewce and his son, Brandon, who was 10 years old at the time, were evicted from their West Virginia home for building skateboard ramps around the property. After the eviction, Brewce looked for a place to create his own skate park.
A friend who worked at a pharmacy in Athens told him about the 88 acres of property for sale in Meigs County. Brewce was so determined to make his own park there that a wooden bowl was put into the area before the building of his house.
Skatopia has many features:
- It has countless ramps.
- A skateboard museum with about 2,600 skateboards.
- A print shop.
- It has also hosted more than 1,000 musical bands.
Brewce thinks the park provides an outlet for both new and frequent visitors to escape their troubles.
“This park gives people the freedom to enjoy skating,” Brewce says. “One of the big things that make this park so successful is that people don’t have to pay to get into the park. We’re not trying to make rules, either.”
Brewce says there are many reasons why Skatopia is a great place to skate.
“Our park is spread out over many acres,” he says. “We have indoor and outdoor features to the park, the skateboard museum, and I have even preserved the antiques that were here when I first started building the skate park.”
November 2015 will mark 20 years that Brewce has owned the property on which Skatopia has been built, and he knows that many people have contributed in helping the park last this long.
“Enough people have believed in the park to help it go,” Brewce says. “Meigs is a poor community, but the community support has been huge. The park is still growing, too.”
Brandon has taken interest in the park and has helped Brewce run the business. The younger Martin says he currently runs about 60 percent of the business; he plans the events and runs the Skatopia Facebook page and screen-print shop. The shop sells stickers, banners and T-shirts, among other items.
With new projects in the works and skateboarders near and far coming into the park on a regular basis, Brandon thinks Skatopia will continue to grow in the years to come even beyond the skate park.
“We are trying to expand on the community side by planting fruit trees and having a sustainable garden,” Brandon says. “But we are also looking to expand our museum for the preservation of skateboard history so the essence of skateboarding is not lost.”