FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Fort Wayne Indoor is the city’s only indoor skatepark. The park has a place for skateboards, BMX bikes, and scooters.
Co-owner Rich Hoppe describes the park as an indoor winter playland. Hoppe and his lifelong friend, Dan Butler are two of the guys behind the idea.
“We’ve been friends since we were kids,” Hoppe said. “He’d ride a skateboard, I’d ride BMX bikes but we’ve still rode together and remained friends to this day.”
The pair started working on the idea five years ago and finally opened the park in 2014.
“I said I have no problem helping build it, I just wanted a place for my kids to go, because my kids skateboard,” Butler said.
Now Butler’s kids along with countless people from all over are visiting the spot.
“I would say 70 percent of the people that are coming here on the weekends are traveling to Fort Wayne for this,” Butler said, recalling his childhood with Hoppe and growing up in the city.
Despite the park’s success, Hoppe and Butler didn’t get to this point without a few bumps in the road. They are part of non-profit 501c, so no one is in it for the money.
“[We] barely make enough money to survive,” Hoppe said. “Nobody makes any money nobody gets paid here its all volunteer so we’re really trying to get to the point where it does make money so it can be a stronghold here.”
Ultimately the goal is to get even bigger and better, and if they continue the way they are going it’s pretty likely that goal will be met.
In regards to their own skating careers, the two best friends in their forties don’t plan to slow down anytime soon.
“I still feel pretty good I mean its still really really fun so I’m going to do it as long as i possibly can I’ll just say that,” Butler said.
For more information, visit Fort Wayne Indoor Skatepark.
*Filmed and edited by Photojournalist Jake Weaver