If all goes according to plan, the city of Greenfield will get a new park next year with an indoor/outdoor skate park called The Turf. Construction will start next summer and will open to the public in the fall of 2022. The park is located at I-84 and Loomis Road in Greenfield.
The concept is a reimagining of a skate park that existed on the premises from 1979-1996, originally called the Surf-in-Turf and later shortened to The Turf. It was extremely popular and renowned by skaters across the country – the legendary Tony Hawk once skated there – because it was one of the few facilities that had indoor “bowls” which allowed for year-round skating.
In 1996, the skateboarding craze of the 1970s and 80s was determined to be over, and the bowls were filled with gravel, covered in soil and the building was demolished.
In 2010, The Wisconsin Department of Transportation bought the land to build a freeway off ramp. While digging to construct the ramp, contractors found the bowls, completely intact, buried deep in the ground.
Members from the local skateboarding community – particularly those who skated The Turf in the 80s and 90s – heard the news and went to the site with shovels to dig the gravel from the bowls. Later that night, they skated in one of the bowls for the first time in two decades.
The skaters decided it was time to bring back The Turf and raised interest via social media. In 2019, Greenfield Mayor Michael Neitzke purchased the land for $1 from the DOT with the agreement it would be redeveloped into a free, public park. Thus, in 2020 the Greenfield Public Works excavated all five of the bowls which were damaged but repairable.
“It was essentially an archeology dig,” says Jeff Katz, Greenfield's city engineer and director of neighborhood services.
The Turf will be an indoor / outdoor facility very similar to the original but four times larger and will feature many upgrades. The five original bowls will be indoors whereas new bowls and street skating features will be located outside.
Katz says the community role of The Turf will be much more than a typical neighborhood skate park. It will be a destination spot for people throughout the Midwest and beyond and will cater to roller skaters as well as skateboarders.
"It will be both a place for local skaters to learn and be challenged and a national destination for professional skateboarders to visit. It will be a fun and safe place for families, while still reflecting the cutting-edge of youth and skateboarding culture,” says Katz.
For more info about The Turf, go here.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.