Concrete flows as construction of Flounder & Friends Skatepark races to completion

Concrete flows as construction of Flounder & Friends Skatepark races to completion

Valparaiso has amenities for plenty of outdoor recreation – baseball fields, parks, bike trails and walking paths are all a stone’s throw away from downtown. That’s why, when a gap in offering was noticed, the Valpo Parks Department set to work filling it. 

Valpo Parks’ Dug Ketterman Event 2023

Valpo Parks’ Dug Ketterman Event 2023 27 Photos
Valpo Parks’ Dug Ketterman Event 2023Valpo Parks’ Dug Ketterman Event 2023Valpo Parks’ Dug Ketterman Event 2023Valpo Parks’ Dug Ketterman Event 2023

“The community recognized that a skatepark was something we didn't have,” said Director of Parks Kevin Nuppnau. “The community engagement side of our public Master Plan process called for a skatepark, and as we looked at our inventory as a whole, it was something that we also identified as not being within our park system.”

Planning for a skatepark began three years ago, but to see the plan through, Valpo Parks needed to partner with someone who both knew skateboarding and the City of Valparaiso. Dug Ketterman – founder of DugOut Design Studios, Valpo native, and lifetime skater – fit that bill perfectly.

“I'm a conceptual designer for the action sports industry,” Ketterman said. “I help design motocross events, skatepark events and my actual specialty is skatepark design.”

Ketterman began collaborating with Valpo Parks to create Flounder & Friends Skatepark, a skatepark that would appeal both to absolute beginners and half-a-century veterans. The design is based on the original Flounder Skatepark, paying homage to a good friend of Ketterman’s and Valparaiso, the late Ray Wampler. 

“It's a completely organic park; the entire design was originally based on the Fibonacci sequence,” said Ketterman. “Everything started around the center, which is the Flounder Bowl, a take off of the original logo to pay homage to the original Flounder Skatepark.”

In addition to the Flounder Bowl, the finished skatepark will feature Hubba ledges, grind ledges, slappy curbs, a mini-ramp with a bowl at the end, grind bars, flat bars, multilevel street sections and a manual pad. Inspired by community feedback, the mini-ramp and a small slappy curb will be protected from the elements by an innovative solar-powered shelter that keeps things nice and dry in the rain.

Skilled skaters can also unlock a secret tribute to Wampler on the manual pad.

“At Ray Wampler’s funeral, they played ‘Bro Hymn’ by Pennywise, and that song just meant so much; it's kind of a tribute to fallen skaters,” said Ketterman. “We were able to extrapolate the song’s beat pattern and put saw cuts in the concrete to represent the bass and the snare. You have to manual on two wheels to unlock the song.”

The skatepark has been in the works for the past three years, with the different skill and ability levels of the Valparaiso community and beyond being taken into account to create a park accessible to all.

“We had multiple online community engagement sessions so people could listen to the direction that we were going, provide feedback, and offer their own input,” said Nuppnau. “Throughout the last three years, we've shared updated renderings and have continued to get feedback from the public – people that are local, people in the skateboard space, adaptive athletes – and we've gotten a lot of really good feedback on how to make this the best possible park for people of all ages and abilities.”

Today marked the second day of pouring concrete at the new park, a huge milestone in any construction project. Assuming work continues to progress at the steady rate it’s maintained so far, Valpo Parks is hoping to have the park open to the public as early as November. 

“The ideal scenario is a late October or early November opening to the public, which is ahead of schedule from what we had originally anticipated,” said Nuppnau. “The Park Department is extremely appreciative of the community support throughout this entire process. It couldn't have been done without their support financially and their involvement in what we've done up to this point. Also, big kudos to Dug. He's brilliant at what he does, and we're so fortunate to have him on this project.”

Ultimately, Ketterman’s design meets skaters wherever they’re in terms of ability, keeping the sport alive and providing athletes with a safe space to practice and progress.

“No matter what level you're at, you can progress throughout the park,” he said.

To keep up to date on everything happening at Flounder & Friends Skatepark, visit

To learn more about everything the Valpo Parks Department offers the Region, visit