On a random trip to Philadelphia in 2007 Adam ‘Kappo’ Kasprzicki and friends Fletcher and Butters stumbled upon a jersey barrier that someone cemented into the ground at an angle. The group found themselves skating the makeshift spot for hours and decided that they wanted to replicate it back home in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Now, ten years later, the Worcide skatepark on Washington Street has grown into something straight out of a skate magazine. The park has expanded out of a single jersey barrier, beyond their original vision, and into one of the raddest DIY skateparks in New England.
“We went down to Philly to see a show and then ended up not going because we just wanted to skate around Philly. We found a jersey barrier and skated it for like two or three hours,” Kasprzicki said.
“We were like ‘ah shit we should go home and make one of these things’. So, we pretty much drove around trying to find a spot and we came across this. It was just an abandoned street so we just created this jersey barrier and it just blew up into this huge thing.”
Last Saturday, November 4, Worcide hosted a Halloween Jam with live music and skaters young and old trying their hand at the concrete park. It was a long way away from where they started but the vision keeps expanding.
“[The vision] evolves, because once you build one thing you can skate that and you can see where that shoots you,” Kasprzicki said. “Then you’ve got to figure ‘oh you can tilt this ramp this way, put this roller here to get more speed’, so to me it’s just kind of like you build one thing and it kind of shows you what needs to come next.”
The park is continuously expanding and they recently poured six cubic yards of cement to create a small bowl-like feature – their biggest pour to date.
“We’re still building all the time, it’s going to be an ever-expanding project, it’s never going to be done,” said Jamie Dube, who’s among the crew of long-time Worcide shredders and builders. “Even when the whole place has ramps everywhere we’ll probably start knocking out the old ones and rebuilding them.”
When they returned from Philadelphia and started building they had no experience with cement. They were all pretty handy and had some experience building wood ramps but cement provided the more permeant and cheaper option. So, with no experience they just started hand-mixing cement bags and pouring it into quarter-pipes and ramps. Soon enough help arrived.
“They’ve been building a lot of new skateparks around Massachusetts so some of those crews get wind of this place so they come and skate it and they’re like ‘oh when you guys are pouring we can help you out’,” Kasprzicki said. “So, we had these different combines come through. Professionals who came and helped us and taught us how to do this and that.”
With the bowl poured and the ramps connected their next project will be touching up the front portion of the park where the original jersey barrier and first few ramps are. The idea is to fill in all of the cracks and make that portion more complete before expanding back under the bridge. After that things are still up in the air, but the overall vision is to turn Worcide into the best skatepark possible.
“We’re building it piece by piece,” Dube said. “You build one piece and you see where you end up and you put something else there and just keep going from there. There’s no final plan or anything like that.”
Obviously, building a skatepark out of nothing can get expensive. When they broke ground back in 2007 everything was self-funded, but over time the guys have become better at fundraising. Now, Worcide hosts yearly craft fairs and art shows with proceeds going towards more concrete and construction supplies.
“We have art shows, we’ve had shows at the local bars, punk shows to raise money,” Dube said. “We do whatever we can do to tap into any sub-culture that is down with what we’re doing.”
“We had a craft fair at Ralph’s and a show there selling artwork,” he added. “We had people pay for tables and they could take whatever they make selling whatever it is – sweaters, stained glass, anything.”
The fundraisers along with donations has helped the park grow into what it is today.
As they get bigger and bigger things like building permits from the city get more and more important; but according to the crew the city and police haven’t been an issue.
“For the most part the cops are really into what we’re doing and tend to back us a little,” said Jay Marr, another long-time Worcide skater and builder.
“There’s a lot of restaurants and bars behind us on this main strip of Green Street that know what’s going on and they’re cool with it,” Dube added.
According to Kappo, no one has told them that they can’t build there.
“We just wanted a spot so we built a spot,” Kasprzicki said. “Nobody yelled at us so we kept going.”