CLOVER -- If he builds it, they will come.
But he has to raise the money first.
Jody Isenhour of Clover wants to build a skatepark in town. He has the support of Mayor Donnie Grice. Now, he's hoping the community and area businesses will want to chip in.
"I used to skateboard. I was real big into it, but I had nowhere to skate," Isenhour said. "I got in trouble all the time with cops at school or in shopping center parking lots.
"When I skated, there were no parks. We had a pick-up and two ramps we put in the back."
He doesn't want his son to go through the same hassles.
"My son is 9, he's skating and he has nowhere to skate," Isenhour said.
Isenhour, who has been working on the plan for more than a year, has done most of the legwork. He has a Web site (tazindoorskatepark.wetpain.com) and has already come up with a design for a 9,000-square-foot indoor skatepark. The design includes several ramps, ledges and rails spread across about 8,100 square feet. The rest of the space would be set aside for a lounge, restrooms, a proshop, an office and a viewing area.
"We'll have to build it from scratch," he said.
The ramps alone will cost $35,750. He's waiting on estimates from a couple of contractors to find out how much the building itself would cost. On top of that, the insurance bill for the park will be substantial, he said.
He has set up a price structure for the park, including a $20 all-day pass. Isenhour said he wants to keep his prices lower than other privately run parks within driving distance.
"I'm not doing this to make money," Isenhour said. "I want a place for my boy to skate."
Isenhour takes his son to other skateparks around the region, and he built a small half-pipe in his back yard.
Isenhour shattered his kneecap during a skating competition in Myrtle Beach nearly 20 years ago, but he still hops on a board to show his son a few tricks. Once the park is up and running, he hopes to find local pros to teach beginners.
In the meantime, his main concerns are funding the park and finding a place to build it.
Clover is currently working on a plan to upgrade the area around its athletic fields, and Parks and Recreation Director Greg Holmes said a skatepark could be a great amenity to add to the area. However, any decision to allow the park on town land would be up to the Town Council, he added.
"We've looked at it in the past, but could never find the funding," Grice said. "If someone wants to come in and do it privately, that's great, the kids will still get the benefit.
"Those parks tend to bring a good draw of people."
If Isenhour pulls it off, the park is likely to see about 100 customers a day when it first opens, according to Miki Vuchovich, Executive Director of the Tony Hawk Foundation. After a couple of years the park usage will probably level off to 30-50 skaters each day.
The Tony Hawk Foundation offers technical assistance to communities and individuals that build skate parks. It also has a grant program for public skateparks. But because Isenhour is running the project, not the town, he doesn't qualify. He has gotten advice from the foundation though.
"Skateparks, when they are done right, and they're big enough, can become 'landmark parks' where people will travel to skate them," Vuckovich said. "When you have several in one area, it becomes a skate tourism destination."
There are also skateparks in Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Charlotte and High Point, N.C. Isenhour has visited most of them with his son to skate and as research.
"Kids will go out and skate literally for hours," Vuckovich said.
A lot of skaters aren't old enough to drive, so many of the ones who come from out of town will likely bring their parents, who may want something to do other than wait for their kids at the park. That could mean more foot traffic for area businesses. And after a long session in the park, a lot of the skaters are going to want something to eat -- a potential boon for area restaurants.
But the possible economic impact is secondary to Grice and Isenhour.
"There's nothing for these kids to do," Grice said. "Anytime we can encourage them to come to a safe place, it's great. An idol body is trouble waiting to happen."
Isenhour has set up a Paypal account through his Web site to accept donations. He plans to seek nonprofit status for the park so donations can be deducted from tax liabilities. If he can't raise enough money to build and open the skatepark, he said he will donate anything raised to Town of Clover and other charity groups.