WALLINGFORD — As a kid, Tyler Shelvey spent as much time as he could at Giorgetti Park, mainly on his skateboard.
“I started skating right around when I was nine or 10 years old,” he said Tuesday. He would go to Flip Side Skate Park and other summer programs.
“I was pretty much staying there from when I got out of school until 8 o’clock at night,” he said. So I’d be there any day I could, all night with my buddies, it was just the best time of my life, before the real world hits, and you’ve got to do school, do work.”
Shelvey now works as a letter carrier for the United States Postal Service, delivering mail around Rutland City. Born and raised in Wallingford, Shelvey said there aren’t many places for boarders to skate, or for young ones to learn how.
He plans to change that with a project begun Wednesday at the Wallingford Town Park.
“We’re building, there used to be a couple of ramps and little ledges and stuff down there at the town park,” he said. “There used to be a little spot off the basketball court where everybody could ride their skateboards and bikes. They used to have bikes down there all the time. We’re trying to build a nice, smooth, skateboard ramp that doesn’t involve the asphalt that’s down there now.”
The half-pipe, or mini-ramp, is a simple affair that young skaters can learn on.
“Me and my dad kind of planned it together, came up with the whole prompt and design, and everything,” he said. “And then we have GE Volunteers — I think there’s seven of them coming down — and they’re going to pretty much do what they do best.”
GE Volunteers is part of the General Electric Corp. It organizes GE employees who want to do volunteer work for local projects.
“It couldn’t be possible without GE Volunteers,” said Shelvey. “Those guys are a huge help with the whole engineering and design part of it. They volunteered, they offered us a bunch of money, which helped out tremendously. We wouldn’t be anywhere close to where we are moneywise.”
The skate ramp is a $5,000 project, Shelvey estimates. He began raising funds for it through GoFundMe, which netted about $900. GE Volunteers kicked in about $2,500. Mac Equipment & Steel Co has donated as has LaValley Building Supply.
According to Shelvey, Wallingford Select Board members have also donated.
Wallingford Select Board Chairman Nelson Tift said Selectman John McClallen donated his $1,000 board stipend to the project. According to Tift, he and a former board member donated $100 of their stipends to it, while the rest of his went to the town to be put towards getting water hookups at the park.
Shelvey said he wants local kids to have a safe place they can skate, or learn to skate, without getting into trouble.