Matthew Salinas, 13, was wringing wet with sweat and grateful for the shade the new skate area offered.
Marcus Villarreal, 13, who also was taking a break, and taking large gulps of water from his gallon jug, said, “It is better than being in the hot sun.”
Avery Nelson, 12, was quick to chime in, “It is also a lot better than sitting at home watching TV.”
Salinas added, “Here we are having fun.”
Beeville skaters don’t yet have a city-funded skate park, but they do have this place to play – under one condition.
“If they don’t respect it and keep it cleaned up, they will lose their privileges,” said Travis Tindol, who owns the property off Houston Street (U.S. Highway 59 west of downtown) across from the Madison Street intersection.
Tindol said that the old building, which has been used for everything from a cotton gin to a welding shop and most recently a portable building manufacturing facility, is perfect for the skaters.
“I knew the kids needed somewhere to skate and I had all this concrete and I decided, ‘Why not let them skate?,’” he said. “It is a fairly convenient location for them.”
Bob Puente, owner of XtreamgrindZ, a Beeville skate shop, said he is watching the kids and making sure they keep the place clean.
“The kids have a tendency to make a little mess,” Puente said. But a reminder once in a while of the consequences if they leave behind trash is all it takes.
“These kids are doing a good job at the upkeep,” Puente said.
“I am watching them and picking up behind them a little.
“Every once in a while I will get on them.
“They are showing some real good leadership skills.”
Puente said that the kids, using very little money, have been able to build a few ramps on the property, which if it is ever sold, will be removed.
“On any given night you can find parents out there watching them skate,” Puente said. “They can’t wait for the park.
“I took some kids to contest in Portland. I never paid attention before but I was in the stands watching and there were numerous parents there watching their kids doing what they love.
“There were grandparents and parents cheering on their kids. It is kind of moving to see the parents respect their kids’ chosen sport.”
Depending on the day, there are upwards of 20 kids on the Beeville property skating.
“There are kids that come through there all day long,” he said. “Sometimes you won’t find (any) because it is too hot.”
Having this place for the kids helps keep many of them off the streets and off private property.
“It is all about the kids,” Tindol said. “I just hope it will help to get them off the streets.”