Skaters and enthusiasts alike came out to support the Manchester Skatepark Project Saturday, May 26.

The minds behind the project have been fundraising since earlier this year to make the skate park at Christmas Tree Park safer and more fun by upgrading equipment and repairing damaged ramps. Part of the proceeds from food sold by MJ’s Cafe and Baking Company Saturday morning and direct donations will go towards making more improvements as soon as two months from now.


“If I weren’t a skater I wouldn’t know how to build that high Ollie,” said Matthew Freyer, 42, who has been spearheading the restoration. “What we really want to do is keep this bank ramp, keep this quarter pipe — they really need to be refurbished.”

Also included in the team of local skateboard enthusiasts working on the new skate park are Patrick Hill, Jason Gibson, Mike Cassell, and Tila Assgari.

It’s important to renovate the park, said Cassell, 34, because it is also the most antiquated skate park in the county.

“This is the oldest skate park of any municipality in Carroll County,” he said.

Cassell has been skating for 23 years and grew up in Westminster. He now lives in Manchester and just bought his 4-year-old daughter a skateboard to initiate her into the sport.

“The skate park in Westminster has been rebuilt twice,” he said, and the ramps at the Manchester skate park are the same ones that were installed when it was first opened in 2001.

Some skaters said though that the Manchester Skate Park, although older, now offers new street-style skateboarding equipment with manual pads and other obstacles that others in the county don’t.

“We usually come out whenever we can every weekend,” said Matt McGuire, 19, a Hampstead skater who prefers the Manchester park to the one in Hampstead.

“There’s more street skating,” said Nathan Davis, 36. “All of that on the ground, boxes, everything kids had growing up skating in the street.”

Freyer said having the different options for skating is also important because it keeps skaters from getting in trouble on private property or where skateboarding is not allowed.

“The pads are based on obstacles in the street. This [pad] right here will keep kids from skating at the church up the street,” he said pointing at a box that resembled a sidewalk curb with a smooth wooden finish and lime-green paint on each side.

Many of the attendees were younger kids tumbling as their families watched on the sidelines.

Also in attendance was professional skateboarder and Hampstead native, Jake Rupp, 36, his brother and his nephew.

Rupp lives in Lineboro now but said he wanted to come out and share support for the community project that has drawn a lot of families out to the park and encouraged kids to pick up skateboarding.


Now spreading love for the art of skateboarding to new generations in a time where the sport is headed to the Olympics, as well as enjoying it through his own practice is important to him, he said.

“The feeling is the same every time,” he said. “It’s like that moment of enlightenment — the same thing if you’re playing golf and get a hole-in-one, or a three-pointer in basketball, that one paint stroke.

“And it only lasts a moment, when everything, the planets align,” Rupp said.

In the early ’90s growing up in Hampstead he remembered the only nearby skate park was in Ocean City and skateboarding was frowned upon.

Gibson, 35, another member of the organizing team, said he remembers growing up that way too. His main reason for getting involved was for future kids.

“I grew up not having a skate park,” he said. “ I think skating taught me a lot growing up. I want to be a part of it, helping the community.”

And Cassell said that with skateboarding heading to the Olympics at the first time, he thinks talent can be found and perfected at the new skatepark.

“Who knows,” he said. “maybe Manchester could be the next proving ground for the next Michael Phelps skateboarder — and we’ve gotten overwhelming support from the community.”

More information on the Manchester Skate Park project can be found on its Facebook page.

The group has raised more than $4,200 of its $7,500 goal and donations can be made on their GoFundMe page.

Another event benefiting the skate park is set for noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, June 3, at the House of Madness Tattoo Emporium and Odditorium, 1220 N. Main St., Hampstead, and all of the proceeds from a Jiu Jitsu seminar at Gracie Jiu Jitsu will go toward the project.