Harbor Island half-pipe finds new home

by Kelly Corbett
Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Staff photo by Joshua Curry 

Jim Mincher, Jack Brandon, Nick Rupp and Conner Lester place a portion of the skate ramp on a flat bed trailer on Tuesday, Jan. 8 in preparation for relocating the ramp to the Brigade Boys and Girls Club. 

In an effort to comply with town ordinances, Harbor Island resident Jim Mincher is donating his family’s skate ramp to the Brigade Boys and Girls Club.

The move of the 15-year-old half-pipe, enforced by the town of Wrightsville Beach following a complaint from a neighbor, will now benefit about 225 children who attend the New Hanover County location of the club each day.

“In 117 years, we’ve never had anything like this,” said Angie Hill, club director of marketing and development.

The Brigade Boys and Girls Club, founded in 1896, serves more than 1,200 youths per year and offers after-school and summer programs in a safe and supervised environment.

Mincher, of Two Wheeler Dealer, said he had been exposed to the club, serving both New Hanover and Pender counties, through previous bicycle donations.

After talking to Hill to make sure the ramp would be a good fit for the club, Hill received board approval and insurance approval for the gift.

Hill said she is hoping the 4-foot structure, formerly located in the lot next to Mincher’s Harbor Island home, will draw more teens to the club’s facilities while also providing an opportunity for the kids to learn a new sport.

“We really appreciate him thinking of others and really trying to make sure that it goes to a good home,” she said.

Last weekend, Mincher’s neighbors and the children who skated the half-pipe had an impromptu going away at the ramp.

Original builder Jim Rees began taking the ramp apart for the move on Monday, Jan. 7. On Tuesday, the half-pipe pieces were loaded into a trailer for transport. The process is expected to take about two weeks to complete.

“He will put it back together, too,” Mincher said. “It will probably be better than it was when he puts it back together.”

The move will cost about $1,500, including the resurfacing of the ramp with new plywood.

The structure will be parked adjacent to the Brigade Boys and Girls Club playground in between the youth and teen buildings at 2759 Vance St.

“There are a couple of pieces to the puzzle,” Hill said.

Along with the structure, the club will need skateboard equipment and volunteers to teach the children how to properly use the ramp.

Tony Butler, founder of Hope from Helen who has skateboarded on the half-pipe in the past, said his organization is currently gathering equipment from companies to donate to the Brigade.

The equipment will include skateboards, pads and helmets.

“I’m just glad Hope from Helen can help turn it into a really cool event, a really positive experience,” Butler said. “It’s sad to see it leave Wrightsville Beach, but it’s going to be really neat to see it in its new location as well. … Kudos to Jim for making it happen. He’s done a lot for the Wrightsville Beach community and it’s good to see him give back in a different way.”

Read the previous story about the half-pipe here: http://bit.ly/XRQ5xO

email kelly@luminanews.com 

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