MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – The skateboarding community is asking for help to rebuild the Matt Hughes Skate Park in Myrtle Beach.
The skate park was built almost 20 years ago and was dedicated a year later to Matt Hughes, who passed away at a young age while skateboarding in the city.
"Even though he passed away, skateboarding, that's what he loved to do," said Aaron Frobase, the leader of the Pepper Geddings Recreational Center.
Now, Frobase said it's time to continue Hughes' legacy and rebuild the skate park.
For decades, Frobase has dedicated his time and passion to youth and skateboarding. He said there is someone out at the park every day.
"I'd say we have about 10 baseball fields out here, we have a $5.5 million stadium. Everyone has a place to go and skaters need a place also, and this is their home," he said. "Kids come from anywhere between Wilmington to Charleston. They come to this park because it's the place they can go, where they won't get kicked out or run off. It's a safe place for them to go and do their activity."
For some, it's not just a skate park; it's their home.
"I wouldn't be standing here right now talking to you if it wasn't for that skate park. In '98 that park was built and I was out there skating as soon as it was built," said Trey Ingram, co-owner of DaVille Skate Shop. "The guys are pretty tight knit. They are brothers, they are ride or die and do anything for one another."
Over the years, Ingram said the skate park hasn't been maintained. The metal ramps are rusty and the wood is deteriorated. These days, most skate parks are built with cement.
"The city hasn't, until these last few years, budgeted money to put back into the skate park and since they're doing that, we have the opportunity to give the kids something they really need, whereas right now they feel left behind, looking at other cities in the state like Charleston, a multi-million dollar park," Ingram said.
Ingram thanked the Friends of the Skate Park Foundation and Ed Tkacz, who have been involved with the park since the beginning.
Tkacz donated $10,000 to help rebuild the skate park, while the city of Myrtle Beach has donated $100,000.
In total, Frobase said the community has raised $15,000 on its own.
"We're just trying to raise money to make up the difference," he said.
For Ingram, the dream is to build more.
"First year was to rebuild Matt Hughes. Five years down the road, maybe we'll have that multi-million-dollar park we deserve," he said.