The legacy of Lt. Commander Thomas Floyd Pierce and the persistence of Project LOOP have culminated Wednesday, Nov. 13 with a ribbon cutting at Pierce Park.
“We would not have a skate park in Taylor if it were not for the efforts from the kids from project loop,” Mayor Brandt Rydell said. “It was really their vision to have a skate park in this community. It’s the first one ever in Taylor.”
Rydell credited the Pierce family for the land and location of the park. Chisum Pierce, the son of the late Lt. Commander Pierce, donated the land where the park was built.
“We would not have a downtown skate park if it wasn’t for the Pierce family and Chisum Pierce making available this site for such a wonderful addition to our city and a skate park that is the envy of communities from all over,” he said.
Chisum Pierce said he thinks he father would’ve been very happy that his name is on a newly formed landmark that celebrates Taylor youth culture.
“I think he would have been very happy,” he said. “He was on the school board for Taylor for quite a few years and he was extremely active in little league and they went really far. He was always involved in athleticism and getting kids outside.”
From its humble beginnings as a construction site to earning a ribbon cutting last Thursday, the completion of the park has been a lengthy process.
Perhaps no one knows that more than Project LOOP founder Brent Humphries. He said that it’s rewarding.
“It’s very rewarding to know that in 2011 we stood out here and the kids in Project Loop used to mow this property,” he said. “We had no idea we’d be standing here looking at a skate park we worked together to build on.”
Humphries also said that a powerful lesson the park teaches kids is that all things wanted in life come with great struggle.
“I think the fact that it took eight years was often very painful, but nothing great comes easy in life,” he said. “The kids never gave up, we got a world class skate park, people all over are talking about it and for that, I think I can speak for both [Chisum and I] and say we’re very proud.
Pierce also thanked city employees and council members for their hard work, along with evergreen skate parks and HDR Engineering.
“I hope that this park will bring and educate a whole new demographic of people to how great the heroes of Taylor’s past were and we’ll show our visitors how bright our future is here in Taylor,” he said.
Pierce Park is a part of the city’s downtown master plan and was pitched to be in several locations before landing across from the redeveloped Heritage Square.
Project LOOP, local non-profit, worked to raise funds to build the skate park through its 50/50 initiative. The park is also funded in part by a grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and Certificates of Obligations bonds.
Evergreen Skateparks out of Portland, Oregon, was selected as the contractor for the project.
Construction started in late 2017 and was opened for use earlier this year.