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Banasiewicz's South Bend skate park is nearly finished

May 03, 2011|By David McCoy (dmccoy@wsbt.com), Click here to follow David on Twitter | By David McCoy (dmccoy@wsbt.com), Click here to follow David on Twitter

SOUTH BEND -- Last summer, South Bend teenager Brett Banasiewicz took the BMX bike world by storm.

With just one problem.

The top-ranked rider in the world had to spend two hours in the car every day, just to train. 

But that won't be a problem for long. Banasiewicz is putting the finishing touches on a new state-of-the-art skate park - right here in South Bend.

"You've just stepped into my personal skate park," Banasiewicz said, as he gave WSBT's David McCoy a sneak peek. "It's called 'The Kitchen BMX Skate Park.'"

In just 10 months, Banasiewicz has gone from just another high school kid at South Bend Washington, to a superstar athlete building his own $100,000 skate park.

"To the right," Banasiewicz pointed, "we are still in construction of what we call the 'little skate area,' and it's just for beginner kids."

The park is now about three-quarters of the way finished. In fact, Banasiewicz and his friends are already using it, even though it's not open to the public yet.

"To the left of the 'little skate' is probably the biggest obstacle in the skate park," Banasiewicz said. "It's called a 'step up and step down.'"

Banasiewicz, his father, and his friends are doing all the renovations and building all the ramps themselves, inside an old mattress factory on the west side of South Bend.

"Going to different skate parks all over the world, there's obviously different kinds of ramps, not every place is the same," Banasiewicz explained, "and that's what we tried to do here, is build just a little bit of everything."

Was this a harder project than he thought it would be?

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"Money-wise, yes," Banasiewicz said with a laugh.

You see, the entire project is being funded by the Bank of Brett - which is to say, not only is Banasiewicz building the park himself, he's paying for it himself too.

"I'm a high school kid, I'm not an architect master or anything," Banasiewicz said. "But I've got some good friends that are really awesome. They help me so much building this park."

The park will open to the public on June 11, so anybody from the South Bend area can come and use it. Banasiewicz said he plans to hold a "big" Grand Opening event on June 11.

The park is located at 3300 West Sample, behind the South Bend Chocolate Factory.

UPDATE: The park's Grand Opening has been postponed. It will now be held on June 18 or June 25.

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