Young entrepreneur presents skate park idea

A 24 year old aspiring entrepreneur wants to turn the skate park in Downtown Albany into a youth outreach center / Sarah Bleau

The Albany Dougherty Inner City Authority (ADICA) wants to turn the skate park just over the bridge in Downtown Albany into a gateway connecting downtown and east Albany. One recent college graduate and avid skateboarder says he wants to help them accomplish this goal by turning it into an outreach center for kids.

Abdul Walker, 24, says he escaped a rough childhood by skateboarding, so he can relate to situations many kids using the skate park in Downtown Albany tell him about.

"For the kids that don't have school but have rougher homes they come there for the sanctuary," says Walker.

Walker says he and his business partner want to utilize the skate park area, which features benches and picnic tables, for small concerts with local musicians and for community and family barbeques.

"It's such a family environment and it's missing the family because there's no one there to love the park," says Walker.

ADICA Board Member Phil Cannon mentioned during the meeting on Wednesday that he did notice kids using the skate park while parents and family members used the bleachers and tables.

Walker says they also want to turn the building adjacent to the skate park into a facility with concessions as well as skate and bike equipment. He says he does want to bring business and revenue to the area along with the outreach center.

"We obviously if we can get someone in there who wants to lease the facility and bring business and bring in new people and kind of anchor that part of the bridge on that side of the river obviously that's something we want to do," says Downtown Manager Aaron Blair. Blair says they have received other propositions from developers interested in leasing the building.

Blair says he does want to work on developing Walker's idea but says "we just have to be ultra careful on their excitement level and make sure they're going to be successful and in turn it won't come out negative for anybody."

Walker says he's worked for a local, self-made entrepreneur and was inspired by what he could do with what he was given and with his own power. He says these experiences gave him the extra push to moving forward with presenting his plans to ADICA.

He also says it's the negative in the city and area that Walker wants to turn around with this project.

"When I was out there and I saw a lot of kids that had horrible boards. It was tragic and I wanted to fix that. I can't sit around and watch my own community suffer," says Walker.

No final motion has been made yet on the skate park. Stay connected with FOX 31 News and as this story develops.