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Why an Irmo mom is advocating for a skatepark

Marie Ryan never thought she would be the one advocating for a skatepark in town.

IRMO, S.C. — A new multi-use park is coming to the town of Irmo. 

Earlier this year, a proposed dog park, skatepark and community garden combo was pitched to town hall and final plans are currently being drawn up. 

Marie Ryan is an Irmo mom who never thought she'd be advocating for a skatepark in her neighborhood but, she is. 

The mom of 6 found out five years ago that she has heart failure, “I’ve had four heart attacks since then,” something that has taught her to make every moment special. 

Marie's kids like to skateboard and she says she was tired of driving them 45 minutes downtown Columbia to the Owens Field Skatepark. This is why she’s doing all she can to help bring the Friarsgate Skatepark to Irmo.

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“I know the importance of being outdoors and kids being able to get back into doing something that’s in their community that their parents don’t have to drive them, they can come up here and participate. There are no try-outs, there are no practices, there’s no schedule,” Marie tells Street Squad.

Marie says because of her own health concerns, she’s more aware of her kid’s needs to get out and play, “I think with COVID and the pandemic and all of these kids being kept inside for so long, I definitely think as a community we need to get our kids back out there and we need to provide a safe environment for them to thrive in.”

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For the last 6 months, the town of Irmo and supporting community members have been working to bring a plan together for a skatepark, dog park and community garden to go where the old Friarsgate Tennis Courts are. It will be called Rawls Creek Park at Friarsgate.

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Marie tells us, “as a resident of Irmo, when I drive to Owens field I take the kids, I spend all day in Columbia, we go out to eat down there, we get snacks, we go to Soda City, we do all these things- I want to bring the money back home to our community.”

Groundbreaking on the new parks is set to happen later this year.

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