What started as an idea has flourished into a safe space for kids to socialize, create, and be part of something bigger. Ramps and Alleys, Salida’s newest skate shop, clubhouse, and indoor skate park was opened by Stacy Falk together with the help of the community.
As previously reported by Ark Valley Voice, the idea started with Falk wanting to open a skate shop for the community. “When I first had the idea of opening a skate shop in Salida I was doing it realistically with a smaller budget, trying to find a location that was very affordable rent- wise and I found little things here and there but they just kept falling through. So, I was starting to get discouraged.”
Falk visited the former antique shop and fell in love with the space at 645 East Rainbow Blvd., which has become Salida’s newest skate shop.
“I conceived this whole giant idea that we could turn it into a clubhouse for kids and a skate park and something just so beyond what I have envisioned,” said Falk. “The property owners were very cool with being accommodating on what I wanted to do and keeping it local and helping the kids.”
The multipurpose space opened on Halloween and has since become a place where kids go after school to volunteer, paint, skate, and ultimately have a safe space of their own.
This project has been made possible because of the community’s support. Hylton Lumber donated over $900 in supplies for the clubhouse. The commons area is for kids of all ages to come after school and hang out.
Organizers plan to put in a foosball table; the goal is to keep the kids off their phones and away from screens. “We’ll have board games and things they can do that’s not on their phone,” said Falk. Different groups have also utilized the space for board meetings, such as the Chaffee County Hockey Association. “The vision was to have a community space for people to come and use pending funding.” Ramps and Alleys Clubhouse has partnered with the Boys and Girls Club and FYI to further support the youth and utilize the new space.
Falk explained “A lot of the kids that we’ve had come over here we’ve seen just hanging out at the skate park after school or on weekends. A lot of the kids don’t get to go to Monarch, they don’t have mountain bikes, they don’t go rafting. They hang out at the skate park, or roam the streets, or hang out at the parks. Now they have a safe space to come hang out that is youth-driven.”
Complying with COVID-19, Ramps and Alleys follows all the health guidelines and the clubhouse has a limited number of kids allowed in at once.
Regarding new kids coming to the clubhouse, Falk explained “We have emergency contacts for all the kids, so if a kid comes over that we don’t know, we get a parent number. We call [the parents] and tell them what’s going on and that this isn’t a babysitting service and [tellthem]your kid is welcome to be here as long as they are responsible and kind.”
Aspeyn Stallard, Manager of the Clubhouse and a mentee of Folk has been involved with the skate shop since day one. Stallard told Ark Valley Voice “I met Stacy roller skating and we were like ‘we want to build a skate shop;, we got this far and we’re really happy. It makes our life really good and fun. We can make others happy.”
“We’re trying to make everybody feel at home and feel safe. They can get what they need and don’t have to go to different places if they don’t have the money. They can go into town, and it’s a small town, so they can easily come and buy whatever they need instead of going out to Denver or Colorado Springs,” said Stallard.
In regards to her experiences since the multipurpose space has opened, Stallard said “It’s nice to know that the workers here are really nice and friendly and you don’t have to worry about people being rude.”
The structure also will include an indoor mini-park which is still under construction. Next to the mini-park is a shop where they can repair, build, and even sharpen ice skates.
Falk explained “We had kids the other day that bought boards, trucks wheels, and bearings. You have to put it all together, so we brought them back here and showed them how to do it. We taught them how to maintain their equipment. We just really want to empower the kids to do that for themselves and make a space that they want to come to hang out at.”
Falk continued “We had a couple of 17-year-olds that came by yesterday because they were bored and it was cold out and so they just hung out. It’s cool because we are appealing to a lot of different ages and even adults. There’s a lot of potential here.”
The kids are allowed to paint what they wish on the walls of the skate park and a section of the wall has been set aside for teens to spray paint graffiti. “The kids come over; we have projects for them. If we run out of projects, they paint.”
Falk and her team are also in the process of building an outdoor skate halfpipe.
Falk says that she and her team are currently in the process of finding more funding through grants, sponsors, and donors. The kids made a donation box that will allow the clubhouse floors to be painted; another project that will be kid-driven.
Ramps and Alleys is looking for donations for both items the clubhouse needs as well as those who wish to volunteer their time. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 719-539-5468. To donate, click here.