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Long-standing skate park closing to disappointment of regular skaters

Skateboarders in Concord will have to find another place to work on their skills after business decides to close permanently.

CONCORD, N.C. — A popular indoor skate park in Concord is about to close its doors permanently.

Soul Ride Skate Park has been a local favorite for 17 years, but according to an Instagram post, its landlord needs the space to expand. The last rides happen Sunday from 1-7 p.m.

It also points out that because of supply price increases and staffing inconsistencies, they will not relocate.

Skaters dropping in for the last weekend told WCNC Charlotte they're going to miss the park and the friends they made along the way.

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15-year-old Connor Hamilton, who's been going to Soul Ride with his family ever since he could remember, said he has many great memories. 

"It's one of my favorite places to be. I love being here," Hamilton said. "It's just such a special moment when we come over here and skate and have so much fun."

Hamilton's dad, Bob Hamilton, also shared feelings of nostalgia.

"It taught them to start something and finish it. To work on these tricks until they get them right even if it's tough, even if they get hurt while doing it," he said. "They stick with it and try to put in the effort to start and finish and complete a task. And that shows their determination and dedication. I think there are a lot of good kids in this sport."

The father, who spent many years on a skateboard himself, said most people who aren't in the skate culture overlook skills like encouragement.

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"I've seen my sons do it. They'll see a new skater show up or a little kid with a new board they got for Christmas," he said. "And my sons will go over there and work with them and help them drop in on the mini ramp, encourage them when they fall down, tell them they can stick with it and get through it. I think those life-like lessons are the kind of things they'll take with them through their entire lives."

During the last weekend, kids shared how tough it is to say goodbye.

Ethan Edwards, an employee at Soul Ride Skate Park, shared those same feelings.

"It means a lot to a lot of kids, because everybody who comes here, is best friends with each other, almost like a family," he said.

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The future of where to go now is uncertain.

Soul Ride regular Griffin Jones said, "A lot of the brothers here can't even drive."

The elder Hamilton said he'll miss watching his sons. 

"Knowing they've got a good, safe place to skate. And this puts them back out on the street where people don't want them," he said.

He hopes local leaders can try and get another public skate park funded.

Contact Jane Monreal at jmonreal@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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