By Sarah Snyder
What began as a tragedy is creating an opportunity for folks in Odessa. A skating accident took a young man's life several years ago and his family is committed to building a safe place for kids to skate.
"We want our kids safe," Susana Pier, The mother of a skateboard accident victim, said.
A mother's mission, born out of a tragedy.
"When you lose a child, you don't want him to be forgotten," Pier said. "You always remember your kid and you want people to remember him too."
Their son Ruben lost his life several years ago while he was skateboarding on Golder Avenue and was hit by a car. His family says it's because there was no place for skaters to go.
"A few months after the accident, one of the skaters approached us and said, 'are we going to build a skate park for Ruben?'" Pier said.
"You see those signs everywhere that say, no rollerskates or skaters," she said. "How can you say, 'don't do it' and not provide a place for them to go?"
That lighted a passion in the Pier family, and they began a campaign to provide a place for Odessa skaters to work on their skills. The city of Odessa is now beginning the process of adding skate ramps to Sherwood Park.
"It's very popular right now," Pier said. "And a lot of the kids, they're small kids involved in skateboarding. We just don't have a place for them to do it."
"They're out in the streets in the schools and they get in trouble a lot," Ruben's dad said. "This will have someplace for them to go."
The family says Sherwood Park is the perfect place for Odessa skaters.
"I think this will motivate kids to be out of the house and not just playing video games," Pier said.
The city of Odessa will soon offer several meetings and they're hoping skateboarders will come and tell them what ammenities they'd like to see in Sherwood Park.
"We have a need," Steve Patton with Odessa Parks and Recreation, said. "We have a lot of skaters in the area. I think this will definitely provide another recreational opportunity, completely new and different for Odessa."
Through garage sales, bake sales, and help from neighbors, the Pier family has raised a portion of the $345,000 allocated for the project.
"I'm excited about the project, it's going to be a great ammenity to Sherwood Park," Patton said. "There's definitely a need for it in the city and we'll see how it goes, and maybe we'll build another one in the future."
As the Pier family flips through photo albums this holiday, they're thankful for the promise of a safe place for Odessans to skate.
"This skate park, we would like it to be something that Odessa can feel proud of," Pier said.
Odessa leaders hope to begin construction in February, opening the park in early Summer.
If you're interested in contributing to the skate park fund, contact Susana Pier at 333-9712.