By Carisa Biesecker
Searching for a place to Ollie on your skateboard or practice that Method Air grab? Look no further, as Brandon resident Doug Chancey brings the skateboard park to you at Davis Park.Along with girlfriend Holly Strickland and childhood friend and Brandon High school teacher Ben Garmen, Chancey allocates Sunday nights from 5:30 p.m. until dark as fun, unadulterated skateboarding time, forging a skate park right in residents’ own backyard. Providing his own equipment – a three-ft. quarter-pipe, a launch ramp, two rails, a grind box, and more, Chancey and the two give residents of all ages a place to test out their skateboards at Davis Park, located at 612 S. Parsons Ave. in Brandon. Some 60 kids come out on any given Sunday to learn the basics, as the avid skateboarder puts it.Why does he do this? “Because there is nothing around like it,” asserts Chancey, who says that the kids have no where to go to practice their skills, getting turned away or having the police called on them by area business owners who frown on their facilities being used as a public skate park. “We’re trying to get kids off the streets and in a safe environment,” he adds. “This is a learning ground.” Because of this, Chancey hopes to offer a local skating contest a few months into the school year, as most of these contests are held in Lakeland or Tampa. “A free skate park is definitely what I feel is needed in the area,” mentions Chancey, 26, who has been skating since the age of 12. A Brandon native, having attended Brandon High School, he lives his life like he plays it, working at the Cove Skate & Surf in Brandon – a skater’s paradise. “Skating has always been a big part of my life…a part of me. It’s a big sport now and not having this [skate park] has held me back in a lot of attributes.”In order to prevent the same from happening to neighborhood kids who may have the same aspirations, he and Strickland have created a petition for parents and children to sign in order to allow Davis Park to be eligible for its continued use as a skate park, as well as to look into funding in the future for its permanent residency. As of now, the kids and their parents help fund the upkeep of the equipment utilized by Chancey, who is hoping to save enough to purchase a mini-ramp, through the sales of $1 drinks on-site.If you would like to support their efforts, visit the Cove, located at 1303 Kingsway Rd. in Brandon, to sign the petition which will be presented before the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners. The group is also looking for business owners to sponsor the skaters at various skating competitions and volunteers to help train skaters. For more information, call 689-8143 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.