Nonprofit leads replacement of Hayden skate park. And that’s just the start. |

Nonprofit leads replacement of Hayden skate park. And that’s just the start.

Now with town support, Northwest Colorado Skate Dream hopes to build a new skate park next summer

Professional skateboarder Torey Pudwell does a trick during a winter skating rodeo put on in December in Hayden by Northwest Colorado Skate Dream, a nonprofit formed to demonstrate the need for a new skate park in town.
Raymond Gabriel/Courtesy photo

Hayden resident Emanuel Quintero grew up skateboarding in Hawaii, eventually working for a skate shop owned by a professional skater. The shop owners would bring other skate pros to the islands and give local youngsters a chance to meet and skate with the best.

“That’s where I got the influence,” Quintero said. “I grew up with all these people, skating with different pros and knowing different pros. Now that my friends are pros, I want to bring that same attention to Hayden.”

Quintero, who owns the Hayden skate shop Ornery Boards, said he wanted to create a space for kids in the community to come together and skate.

Over the past few years, he reached out to town officials about the existing skate park, which Quintero said isn’t good for beginners and actually appeared on a list of worst skate parks in the nation in Thrasher Magazine, a skate-focused publication. A 2011 article in Denver’s Westword Magazine called the park one of the worst in the state.

At first, Quintero suggested they build some do-it-yourself style jumps to add to the park, but that idea morphed into building a whole new park. Still, the town wasn’t totally sold.

Hayden Manager Mathew Mendisco and former Mayor Zach Wuestewald told him they didn’t know if upgrading or replacing the current skate park was that high of a priority for the town, so they suggested Quintero work to demonstrate that need to them.

Since then, he started a nonprofit called Northwest Colorado Skate Dream and has held skating events in town drawing dozens of young skaters. The first event last June raised about $3,000 to put toward a new skate park.

Skateboarders in Hayden gather for a winter skating rodeo in December, the second event held by nonprofit Northwest Colorado Skate Dream in their effort to replace the town’s aging and potentially unsafe skate park.
Raymond Gabriel/Courtesy photo

The latest event in December — a winter rodeo at the Routt County Fairgrounds exhibit hall — included professional skaters like Torey Pudwill and Danny Hamaguchi.

“We didn’t make that much money during that fundraiser, but the faces on those kids,” Quintero said. “That is why we’re doing it, that right there, the expression on the kids’ faces.”

The Northwest Colorado Skate Dream now has the backing of the town, which received a $25,000 grant for planning from the Colorado Health Foundation to design a new park.

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At a town council meeting earlier in February, council members approved going outside the normal proposal process to secure a designer for the park, as part of the appeal of a skate park, like a golf course, is who designed it. The location for the new park hasn’t been chosen yet, but Mendisco said that would be part of the design process.

“They formed a (nonprofit), they have raised roughly $8,000 to $10,000,” Mendisco told the council. “They came during budget season and asked that council prioritize a skate park, which council agreed to.”

Quintero said previous parks he has worked to build have taken as along as a decade to get enough support. But after demonstrating the need to Mendisco and getting the support of town officials, he said the hope is to plan the park this year and construct it in 2024.

The first goal of the nonprofit is to build a skate park in Hayden, but eventually Quintero said he hopes it could help build parks across Northwest Colorado.

“We want to not only build this park here in Hayden, but we want to eventually go anywhere in this northwest corner and help them build a skate park, too,” Quintero said. “I feel every kid in every town deserves a skate park, whether you skateboard or Razor (scooter) or rollerblade or any of that.”

Quintero said there are multiple ways people can help bring the stake park to fruition, including a donation bucket in his Hayden skate shop. People can also donate to the nonprofit directly through Mountain Valley Bank, Quintero said.

The group has been documenting its progress on a Facebook page and is working to bring more pro skaters to Hayden for an event in June.

“(Mendisco) has been hooking it up,” Quintero said about the town’s support for the project. “We’re doing something that in most towns takes 10 years to do. We’re doing it in less because of the love and the effort.”

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