If you're a storeowner in Manlius, you've likely had to chase a group of skateboarders away from the front of your business. If you've ever shopped at Target, you've probably noticed those pieces of metal bolted to the cement planters meant to deter skateboarders from sliding (or "grinding") across them with their boards.
Ask any local skateboarder where all the good skate spots are in Manlius, and they will probably give you the same answer -- nowhere. Until recently, the parking lot of Eastern Hills Bible Church in Manlius was the place to go for local skaters and skateboarders; the church used to own a collection of full-sized skate ramps they let skaters use for free during hours of supervision.
For a while, the Eastern Hills Bible Church was the only place where kids could skate safely, without being chased off by business owners or police. Although kids are still allowed to skate outside the church, the area that once had almost enough ramps to be called a skate park is now empty.
Eastern Hills Bible Church has long since been an active benefactor for the Manlius youth community, hosting concerts, holding volunteer projects and throwing cookouts during the summer. The church has a paintball center that will be open the first week of July, but it had to say goodbye to its mini skate park recently when the ramps deteriorated and funding for the project ran out.
The ramps were originally built and paid for by youth pastor Jonathan Bome, who said the small skate park filled a big void in the community since skaters have nowhere to skate. Bome put up $5,000 of his own money for the ramps, and constructed them himself. Complications arose when the homemade ramps started falling apart, and when Bome didn't have enough time to single-handedly supervise the small skate park.