Concrete Finishing Touches: Skate park shaped as snow comes in

Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette George Zadrozny of Spohn Ranch Skateparks smooths out a concrete ramp at the Houghton Skate Park Wednesday afternoon. The concrete will be covered with a special blanket for two weeks to allow it to cure, readying it for an unveiling in spring.

HOUGHTON — As snow flurries hit the Keweenaw Wednesday, a crew continued the final stage of work on the Houghton Skate Park.

Through a volunteer effort and matching funds from the Tony Hawk Foundation, the fundraising drive for the skate park raised $208,000. As a result, the two phases that had been planned for construction were combined into one.

The crew includes both locals and people on hand from Spohn Ranch Skateparks, the California-based company that designed the park.

To get the job done, each side has shared techniques, said George Zadrozny of Spohn Ranch.

“The locals taught us cold-weather concrete, and the Californians taught the yoopers how to make the concrete stand up and dance,” he said.

The secret to cold-weather concrete is keeping the aggregate higher, Zadrozny said. Normally, he said, they’d push the rocks down with a tamp. The locals advised against that, since the rocks can help prevent loss of top layers in cold temperatures.

For the parts that need to stand up, they used a custom mix with a three-eighths-inch chip. Air is added while it is being sprayed through a special nozzle. It is then tapered with custom forms to create a radius on the curved ramp.

The fixtures will be covered up with specialized blankets for two weeks to allow it to cure.

“We’ll wrap it up, and it can snow, and we can unveil it in the springtime,” Zadrozny said.

Zadrozny’s final day will be Friday.

“I think your skaters will be happy,” he said. “It’ll be the nicest park for hundreds of miles.”