Photos and text by Michael Ares
Sitting with his bicycle on top of a 15-foot ramp, Dakota Cleveland, 19, adjusts his helmet with his sweaty palms. Taking a deep breath, he races down the ramp. Rising over the crest, he attempts to execute a back flip but instead falls into a sea of blue and orange foam blocks. Laughing to himself, Cleveland climbs out of the pit and continues to ride his bike throughout the halls of the Charm City Skatepark in Baltimore.
With a dream of providing a quality skate park for his beloved city, Jason Chapman, the creator of Charm City Skatepark, met with the city of Baltimore and around Baltimore County to try and gain support for his vision. When neither the city or county shared his dream, Chapman decided to create a skate park himself, constructing the park inside an East Baltimore warehouse 24-years ago.
Since then, the warehouse facility has hosted professional skateboarders such as Lance Mountain, Dundalk’s Bucky Lasek, and Baltimore’s own Rodney Jones. It continues to be an attractive place for contests and video productions for many skateboarders, bike riders, roller bladers and scooter riders in the community.