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Local skate parks differ greatly

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Posted: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 6:15 pm | Updated: 8:52 pm, Fri Oct 18, 2013.

SARASOTA - They may look a lot alike, but when it comes down to it, the skate parks in Sarasota and Bradenton have some pretty striking differences.

"It's like a pro set up really."  Skateboarder Joshua Gibson goes to Bradenton's Riverwalk about five times a week.  He says given the choice between there and Payne Park in Sarasota, he'd take the Riverwalk.  "Well the one in Sarasota isn't open twenty-four hours like this one is, and its gated," said Gibson.

Some skaters we spoke with say they like having less regulation.

"It's very fun, its cool they did this, no supervision, its what all skaters want, really," said Robert Lorraine.

But unlike the Riverwalk which is completely open to anyone twenty-four hours a day, Payne Park is enclosed, with set hours and rules.

Some skaters say that makes for a much safer environment than the Riverwalk.  "It's just pretty much like family based, everybody here's family," said a skater at Payne Park.

But the differences don't end there. Payne Park is on public property, and it's run by a local non-profit.

Bradetnon's Riverwalk is also on public property, however it is administered by the Bradenton Downtown Development Authority. It's also drawing quite the crowds given it's recent debut, something some say is a plus about Payne Park.

"It's not as crowded, because its been open longer, its already been established as a skate park," said Lorraine.

One thing skaters at both parks agree on though, is that having a major hospital within sight of the Riverwalk is a definite comfort.  "I've seen a couple guys go to the hospital, I mean it's nice to have it right there," said skater Trevor Beeman.

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