Prior to his death at age 14 of heart failure, David Metzger was an avid skater and bicycle rider.
He often enjoyed visiting the Railyard Skatepark in Lockport, which is one of the reasons why a group of his friends and skatepark supporters are now working hard to improve its condition.
On Saturday, Metzger’s sister, Marisa, a member of the group Friends of the Railyard Skatepark, joined representatives from a local painters union to give the recreational site a fresh coat and an updated look.
Members of the District Council 4 of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) volunteered their time and skills to paint the newly reconstructed skatepark on Saturday.
“I saw him posting over the last few months that they were in the process of rebuilding the skate park,” said union member Guy Falsetti, referring to Friends of the Railyard Skatepark committee advisor Joe Villella, who was a longtime friend. “I know we do community outreach when we can and I figured, if we could lend a hand, we’d love to.”
Falsetti talked to Wes Schlossin, organizer for the chapter, to see if the would be something union members, active and retired, could take on.
“We do a lot of outreach and charity stuff,” Schlossin said. “We do Habitat for Humanity. We do the Ronald McDonald House, the food bank, the community center on Genesee Street in Buffalo. We’re doing that in a couple of weeks.”
District Council 4 of IUPAT stretches across the state, covering 33 counties with 1,500 active members, and about 15 active locals, according to Schlossin and Falsetti.
Mayor of Lockport Michelle Roman was also on hand at the skatepark to help paint, and according Hans Bald, one of the co-chairs of the skatepark group, she has been a great supporter of the project. The city has given the group $10,000 out of its park maintenance fund to help support the ultimate goal - a complete makeover for the skatepark.
“I’m really happy to see all these people,” Bald said. “This is the fifth weekend we’ve just been doing this. The city was able to allocate funds to purchase the repair materials for us. We just want the park to last three years or so… (that way) we can raise money (using it as a venue).”
“We’re working together with the union,” Roman added. “When you work together, collaboratively, a positive result happens.”
For more information about the skate park project, visit Friends of the Railyard Skatepark on Facebook.