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Emporia shop owner looks to expand skateboarding scene

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EMPORIA (KSNT) - After a quarter-million-dollar donation was made for improvements at the skateboard park in Emporia; one local business owner is looking to open shop.

In 2021, 13-year-old Maddox Gutierrez started a petition asking for improvements to be made to the Santa Fe Skateboard Park in Emporia. After 27 News covered the story, an anonymous local family donated a quarter-million dollars to the Kahola Lake Park Fund with the Emporia Community Foundation.

City Manager Trey Cocking said the city had to find a new location for the project. The new location will be at Whitter Park and will allow for more room and a better setup for the park. The American Ramp company was contracted to work on the park designs.

Local skateboarder Angel Franco has opened E-SK8 in anticipation of the new skate park.

Franco said he's lived in Emporia for 15 years after moving from Los Angeles, CA. Franco saw a gap in the market with the closest skateboard shop being more than 60 miles away in Topeka.

"You have to go all the way to Wichita or wait a week and a half for the mail," Franco said. "If a kid wants to custom build a deck [skateboard], you can do it all here. Either that or you have to go online, and risk a porch pirate, or have to drive all the way to Wichita and pay the gas and toll."

Franco said he wants to set up a skateboarding competition for International Go Skate Day on June 21. He said he has bought 100 blank skateboards and will be having a design competition. Franco said the winning designer will have their artwork printed on skateboards and may earn commissions from the sales.

Franco said buying a blank skateboard for $20 will automatically enter you into the design competition. From there, you can create a graphic design, paint the board or use another medium for the artwork. An announcement for the competition is planned for March 29.

E-SK8 is now open after a grand opening was held on March 1. The shop is open Wednesday through Saturday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 713 Commercial St.

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