By Amy Rose
Greeneville, Tennessee—"This gives me hope," skateboarder J.J. Hudson said Friday morning at the opening of the new Greeneville Skate Park.
The 10 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Hardin Park site was attended by an estimated 100 community leaders, skateboarders and their families.
Among them was Sherry Melton, a stay-at-home mom who has worked for the past two-and-a-half years to get a skate park built in Greeneville.
"Sherry has really believed in this skate park," said Matilda Green, a supporter of the project who welcomed those in attendance. "She has taken this vision and turned it into a reality."
The result is a 10,000-sq.-ft. concrete park with ramps, rails, stairs, ledges and other structures where skateboarders are allowed to skate away from vehicular traffic.
"Skateboarding saved my life," Hudson told the crowd. He explained that he does not enjoy organized school sports, and skateboarding is the activity that keeps him out of trouble.
Skateboarder Shane Stills said the sport keeps young people off drugs. He urged the younger skaters in the crowd to stay off drugs and make skateboarding "your new addiction."
Greeneville Mayor-elect Laraine King wore one of her son's T-shirts that featured the message "Skateboarding Is Not A Crime."