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August 11, 2017

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Scooters 'n Skaters: MRH Freshman is "Consultant" for Maplewood Skate Park

Friday was a long, hot day for incoming Maplewood Richmond Heights freshman Kainen Kelly.

"I had to get up at 7.  I probably went to bed around 5."

Kainen was recently invited to join a study group looking into design concepts for the upcoming Maplewood skate park, to be located at the corner of Lohmeyer and Bredell, near the aquatic center.   Why Kainen?

"I used to ride skateboards, when I was 8 to about 11 years old," he explained.  But this past Christmas, he received a scooter as a gift.  That changed his mindset.  He quickly became proficient on the scooter, even though friends advised him it wasn't "cool" and occasionally teased him about it.''

"I made it look fun," said Kainen.

The fact-finding mission began with a team including Maplewood Assistant City Manager Anthony Traxler, members of the park board, local skate shop operator Jason Ebenrick, other devoted skaters, and Kainen's middle school principal, Mike Dittrich.  Their first stop: the Peter Mathews Memorial Sk8 Garden on Morganford in the city of St. Louis, where Kainen declared that "the transitions are pretty good."  That's skates parlance for the various dips and ramps and slides in the park.  

Next up was the skate facility in Jefferson Barracks Park in south St. Louis County, where workers were busy waterblasting graffiti from one of the concrete bowls.  Kainen appeared to enjoy that ride a little more than the first one, but other members of the team decried what they called a lack of inspired design.

From there, it was a 40 minute drive to Washington, MO., where the skate park was built on what used to be a tennis court surface.  After a lunch of sandwiches and sodas at Washington's "Farm to You" market, the entourage wound north through the bottomlands of St. Charles County, to O'Fallon's Westhoff Plaza skate park. Kainen clearly enjoyed the company at the final stop; it was the only park he'd visited all day where almost everyone else was riding scooters instead of skateboards.

To see video of Kainen's consulting work and scooter prowess, go to https://www.facebook.com/MRHSchoolDistrict/.

The Maplewood skate park is being funded with a $163,000 grant from the Municipal Park Grant Comission and with funds from a foundation set up by Tony Hawke, one of the world's preeminent skateboarders. 

For more information, contact MRH School District at (314) 644-4400.