Fort Collins is littered with outdoor skate parks, but Launch Creative Center offers a skate park indoors, away from the cold and snow.
Andy Weiss, the founder and executive director, started Launch Creative Center as a non-profit organization in 2011. He had been running a skateboard retail store in Fort Collins for 15 years, and was inspired to focus more on the activity and events that interact with skateboarding rather than just the product aspect of it.
“I really wanted to focus on the culture of skateboarding,” Weiss said. “When I was growing up, skateboarding was portrayed as a negative thing, but now, skateboarding has gotten a new reputation and we were really able to promote it as a positive thing for kids to engage in. There is community behind it and an artistic element as well.”
Launch Creative Center is located at 1007 N. College Ave. Unit B. The center’s hours vary by month and can be found on its website. Launch Creative Center is open to the public and welcomes people of all ages with skateboarding abilities of all levels.
“When we first started Launch, we didn’t even know if we were going to have a location,” Weiss said. “We knew we wanted a place with a museum of old skateboards, a collection of old skateboard magazines, a couch and a place for kids to hangout and maybe a mini ramp in the back. That was the original idea.”
John Ribes has been volunteering at Launch Creative Center since June 2014. According to Ribes, volunteers usually help manage the front desk, check people in and assist with various programs, events and construction.
“Launch is pretty much for the kids, by the kids,” Ribes said. “I think that’s why people like it because there are people who are just into the skateboarding culture and artistic aspect of it.”
Adam Concannon, a senior journalism and media communications major at Colorado State University, has been volunteering at Launch Creative Center since his sophomore year.
“Skateboarding has had a shadow cast upon it with negative connotations associated with being a skateboarder,” Concannon said. “After meeting Andy and seeing what Launch was about, you couldn’t help but want to be a part of it.”
According to Weiss, Launch Creative Center is currently working to expand programs such as their after school skateboarding program. Weiss said they are hoping to launch skateboard contests in Old Town Square in the future.
“To do a skateboard event that’s really exposed to the public, would really give exposure to the sport and highlight what the kids are doing,” Weiss said. “I’m excited for this year because it really is a milestone for us to get to this three year point.”
Collegian Reporter Amanda Thompson can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @amanduhh3003.