New Monroe skate park forced to close due to city regulations

A new skate park in Monroe is forced to shut down after officials say the park was built on private property and violated city codes. (Source: KNOE)

MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Tony Molina came to Monroe with one goal in mind - create something that kids would love.

So, he used his own passion and in April decided to build a skate park. He noticed an unused spot under the I-20 Bridge along South Grand Street and went to work.

"We came to this spot. It was a satellite just laying here and we just threw it up on a wall and we thought this would be really cool," said Molina.

With the help of dozens of people, the park was finished.

However on Wednesday, he was told the park had to be torn down. Police told Molina their project was on private property and built against city code.

John Stringer from the Tensas Basin Levee District says the concrete that was poured along the flood wall was a potential risk to the wall’s structure, and that Molina didn’t complete the necessary paperwork to build the park.

"A bunch of people came from the Levee Police and basically told us it was a cool spot, they like it, but it just doesn't meet city regulations," said Molina.

Despite the setback, Molina is taking it all in stride. He hopes this failed attempt will spark the minds of others to think big and come up with fresh ideas this community could benefit from.

"We got football fields, we got basketball courts, but we have nowhere to skateboard. They can't go downtown. If they do Vantage security will kick them out and really it's not a lot of concrete out there. So I guess if my tax dollars have to pay to tear this down, there's no difference to $700 that I've donated out here so they can get concrete," said skater Orion Patenaude.

Molina says he will use that disappointment as fuel to continue his mission.

"We got people from maybe a 3-year-old girl pouring concrete, to a 73-year-old man stirring concrete. I'm not even joking. That's real," said Molina. "And that's just bringing the community together, and on top of that people dig it. And that's really how this spot got built."

Molina hopes to have conversations with city officials on how to properly execute the skate park in the near future.