They flocked to Jackson Morrow Park by the hundreds: 4-year-old Jason Tyler of Pine Valley on his flaming Huffy, Kokomo’s Pat Dixon, 40, Dana Burgess, 15, from Lebanon, Ohio, and her boyfriend, who flew in from Virginia.

Kokomo Pipeline Skate Park opened with a flourish Saturday morning.

Official ceremonies were planned for 10 a.m. By then, the crowd estimated at 300 had been forming for three hours.

Some skaters warmed up in the parking lot. Some cleaned their gear. Hunter Reed, 16, of Logansport, bragged he had already looped through the world-class pipe.

“It was really awesome,” Reed said, “and really big!”

Awesome. It could be heard coming from the mouths of seemingly everyone.

That included Kokomo’s Marci McKinney, who won the city’s contest to name the $345,000 park, where her son, David, and nephew, Mick, both 10, anxiously waited for the lines to thin out enough for them to grab a ride on the wild side.

As the winner of the name-the-park contest, Switchfoot Board Shop awarded McKinney’s son a new skate board, helmet, knee and elbow pads and shirt. DK’s Main Street Skate Park, where she said the name came to her, gave him a new bike.

“I can’t wait to get in there,” David said, “but I don’t think I’m going to do the loop de loop.”

Prior to opening the park to the general public, professional skateboarders Steve Caballero, Salman Agah and Kokomo’s Brian Patch provided demonstrations.

After that, it was all smiles as skaters and bike riders descended for their first thrill in what many called a dream come true.

John Martino, assistant superintendent of the city’s parks and recreation department, said the department got hundreds of e-mails and phone calls from all over the country in anticipation of the park’s opening.

“This park is world-class,” he said. “Most of the big skate parks are on the west coast. We’re the only one in the world that has a bent full pipe with a 90-degree elbow.”

The 9,800-square-foot park — roughly the size of five tennis courts if it were laid out flat — was designed by Seattle-based Grindline Skate Parks. It includes three bowls of varying sizes and a 16-foot diameter bent pipe. It is open to skateboards, bikes and roller bladers.

The one-of-a-kind facility was conceived more than two years ago, when the city provided $250,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds towards its construction.

The interest in building a skate park in Kokomo actually began about six years ago after a community group urged park officials to put a facility in Foster Park on West Superior Street.

The parks and recreation board selected the Waterworks Park on East Carter Street, with a corner of Jackson Morrow Park at South Webster Street and Center Road as an alternate site.

At risk of losing its block grant funding because Waterworks Park sits in a flood plain, the park board agreed to move the skate park to Jackson Morrow on the city’s far south side.

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