NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Grammy-winning rapper Lil Wayne's skate park project in the city's rebuilding Lower 9th Ward is off to a bumpy start.
The building that houses the park didn't pass a city electrical inspection and had to be re-wired, and only a handful of children are able to skate at a time because of a shortage of staffing. Many days, the Trukstop skate park — named after the rapper's skateboarding-inspired Trukfit clothing line — hasn't been open at all.
"We really put the cart before the horse on this project, and right now we're at a crossroads," said Ward "Mack" McLendon, who manages the facility.
But, he said, "Everybody wants to make this work."
McLendon says Lil Wayne dropped by the facility and skated with some kids while in town Super Bowl weekend.
"He's on board, and he really wants this for the community," McLendon said.
The 30-year-old rapper, whose publicists did not return phone calls or emails for comment, announced the park's launch last September, along with corporate partners Mountain Dew and Glu Agency, a New York-based advertising firm . At the time, the park was supposed to be open to the public seven days a week beginning Oct. 1, 2012, but opening was delayed because the facility didn't have enough staffing or insurance coverage.
McLendon said the insurance issue has been resolved, so the park is open. Staffing continues to be a problem. The park is only open when there is adequate supervision, and organizers are relying on volunteers. Continued...