Easthampton Skate Club launches crowdfunding campaign to expand at Eastworks

Noah Halpern-McManus, who owns Easthampton Skate Club, coaches Ewan Johnson during a youth open skate session on Saturday, June 8. The club, which opened last November and is continues to grow in popularity, is in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign to expand and update its facility.

Noah Halpern-McManus, who owns Easthampton Skate Club, coaches Ewan Johnson during a youth open skate session on Saturday, June 8. The club, which opened last November and is continues to grow in popularity, is in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign to expand and update its facility. FOR THE GAZETTE/DYLAN RAY

Noah Halpern-McManus, who owns Easthampton Skate Club, coaches Ewan Johnson during a youth open skate session on Saturday, June 8. The club, which opened last November and is continues to grow in popularity, is in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign to expand and update its facility.

Noah Halpern-McManus, who owns Easthampton Skate Club, coaches Ewan Johnson during a youth open skate session on Saturday, June 8. The club, which opened last November and is continues to grow in popularity, is in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign to expand and update its facility. FOR THE GAZETTE/DYLAN RAY

Youth skaters at Easthampton Skate Club try on their new Converse skate shoes.

Youth skaters at Easthampton Skate Club try on their new Converse skate shoes. Provided by Easthampton Skate Club

Noah Halpern-McManus, who owns Easthampton Skate Club said the club is in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign to expand and update its facility.

Noah Halpern-McManus, who owns Easthampton Skate Club said the club is in the middle of a crowdfunding campaign to expand and update its facility. FOR THE GAZETTE/DYLAN RAY

By ALEXA LEWIS

Staff Writer

Published: 06-15-2024 4:01 PM

Modified: 06-17-2024 9:28 AM


EASTHAMPTON — On the ground floor of Eastworks, nestled among art studios and clothing designers, Easthampton Skate Club provides a space for people of all ages and experience levels to develop their skateboarding skills and experiment with new tricks. Thanks to a fundraiser running through July 27, the skating experience in this unique space could get even better in the near future.

Easthampton Skate Club’s owner, Noah Halpern-McManus, opened the club last November when he saw a gap in indoor and youth skateboarding opportunities. He brought more than 20 years of skateboarding experience to Easthampton and used the knowledge he gained from running after-school skate programs in San Francisco to provide lessons, open skate sessions, birthday parties and more. Local youth in particular have begun frequenting the venue since its opening, as it provides a safe, judgment-free space to learn to skate.

“Opening up that world to a kid is really satisfying,” said Halpern-McManus. “They’ve come a long way already. It’s a lot of fun to see.”

Now, Halpern-McManus hopes to update the 2,700-square-foot indoor facility to meet the club’s growing popularity and provide a smoother experience for skaters and spectators alike.

Through the Biz-M-Power Grant program, funded through the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation, Easthampton Skate Club could see several major improvements to its space. The grant program matches crowdfunding donations one to one, and the Skate Club is already halfway to its $10,890 goal.

This funding will be used to expand operations into a neighboring 600-square-foot office space, which will serve as a “clubhouse” where the club’s office – currently in the main skating area – will be housed and spectators will be able to enjoy their viewing from a safer distance. Without this separated space, Halpern-McManus said that parents and other spectators are “sort of in the line of fire” as they sit at the back of the facility.

In addition to the clubhouse, Halpern-McManus hopes to build a new skate ramp in the current office and spectator space, and replace the facility’s flooring with something more permanent than the current paneling, which he calls “a temporary fix.”

Parents of the club’s youth skaters expressed excitement about all that it continues to offer their children as operations continue to expand.

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“This is only our second week coming here,” said Will Schneider as he watched his son practice on the quarter-pipe. Schneider and his son live near the Northampton skate park, but appreciate the safety and guidance that Easthampton Skate Club’s staff provides.

“This is an amazing way to spend a Saturday morning,” Schneider said about the youth open skate session. “It’s hard to know how to do it and be safe.”

Audrey Armstrong said that her daughter Scarlett has only been to two private lessons and one open skate session, but that she’s already “really comfortable” on a skateboard.

“Noah’s really good at explaining why you need to do certain things with your body to get the board to do what you want it to do,” said Armstrong. “[Scarlett has] already made so many improvements over just two hours.”

Lisa Kuschka-St. Onge is the mother of one of the club’s youngest skaters at just 7 years old. After getting his skateboard for Christmas, he started frequenting Easthampton Skate Club.

“He’s advanced very well. … We go to every open skate we can,” said Kuschka-St. Onge. “This is the first thing he’s initiated on his own … and he’s kept with it.”

The proposed improvements to Easthampton Skate Club’s facilities will provide a safer, more robust experience for skaters and their supporters. Donations can be made at easthamptonskateclub.com or patronicity.com/esc, and those who donate specified amounts will be rewarded with prizes such as a free T-shirt, free open skate sessions, or other items.

Registration is also open for Easthampton Skate Club’s first round of summer skate programs, which will provide skill-based learning through August.

Alexa Lewis can be reached at alewis@gazettenet.com or on Instagram and Twitter at @alexamlewis.