Before he died, Jarred Newallo had always hoped Hempstead would have a place to skate safely.
On Saturday, Hempstead village officials helped his vision become a reality when they.gathered at Kennedy Memorial Park to dedicate a permanent skate park in Newallo’s name.
The Jarred A. Newallo Skate Plaza opened last year but was officially dedicated Saturday. It includes a poster with Newallo's picture and a poem he wrote called, “Do What You Love.” It also features footprints in the cement and a ramp painted to look like a record to signify his love for deejaying. It is open to skateboards, BMX riders and scooters.
“This is a dream come true,” William Newallo said of his son, a skateboarder who was killed on a sanitation truck in 2014. “He wanted a skate park, so kids wouldn’t be skating in the streets and parking lots. It was just a matter of time before someone got hurt.”
Jarred Newallo, then 25, of Hempstead, was killed in June 2014 when two garbage trucks crashed in East Meadow. Newallo, a Hempstead Town sanitation worker for about a year, was riding on the back of one of the trucks when the other struck it.
“What brings us here today is very sad, but he would be very proud to see this skate park,” said William Newallo of his son, who also worked as a camp counselor at Kennedy Memorial Park for several years.
Plans for the skate park have been underway since shortly after Newallo’s death when then-Mayor Wayne Hall contacted then-Assembly Deputy Speaker Earlene Hooper to secure state funding.
Village officials were told they had just 24 hours to lobby State Assembly committees to approve $150,000 in funding. After four years of applications to various committees, they began seeking bids.
Counsel to the Deputy Speaker Lance Clarke said Newallo’s death proved to be a catalyst to secure state funding.
“This was a tragedy that now turns into something good for the village,” Hall said.
Newallo’s father said, previously, teens had to skate around parking garages and the municipal parking lot at Washington streets in Hempstead. His son was an avid skater and a volunteer EMT with the Hempstead fire department.
The park was dedicated in an invocation by pastor Thelma Johnson of the Rehoboth Fellowship Center in Hempstead.
“We pray this is a place of safety when people can find the joy and happiness of Jarred,” Johnson said.