Community · Oct 2nd, 2022
Plans are rolling forward for a new community skatepark in Valparaiso, but the new park will retain the legacy of the old Flounder Skatepark. Located in Valparaiso’s Rogers Lakewood Park the Flounder Skatepark was named after Ray “Flounder” Wampler, who died in a deadly crash 25 years ago. He was riding in a car with his good friend Dug Ketterman when a train T-boned their vehicle on an icy road. Ketterman survived the crash, but Wampler lost his life. They were juniors in high school and before the accident the two friends spent a lot of time skateboarding around Valpo.
“I had a lot of support from family and friends after the accident, but it was still tough,” said Ketterman. “When the city approached me about designing a skatepark dedicated to Ray I was all in. I remember I was in high school, walking the halls, when I saw a drawing of a fish. I knew right away the park would have to be named Flounder Park and the city agreed. That project did as much good for me as it did for the entire community.”
Ketterman couldn’t remember why Ray Wampler was nicknamed Flounder. He said it was just what they called him for as long as he could remember. Wampler loved skateboarding and Ketterman says he was very good at it.
“I’m just so glad we’ve been able to honor Ray with this park,” said Ketterman.
Ketterman is now the founder of DugOut Design Studio in Portland Oregon. He designs layouts and tracks for extreme sports all over the world. A career that began with his work on Flounder Park. That first project means the world to him, but he’s now focused on the new park. The city has hired him to design it.
“Ray will be at the center of this new park,” said Ketterman
1st Source Bank has supported the Valpo Parks Department for many years and the 1st Source Foundation donated $25,000 to begin the fundraising campaign for the new skatepark.
“It’s an all-inclusive project,” said 1st Source Bank Region President Matt Vessely. “It impacts all ages and all abilities, and that is really meaningful. When you look at establishing a marquee property, a marquee location, a marquee venue, it has to be about more than one crowd. This one really appeals to the broader masses. Some of the things that are in the design are just amazing.”
The Valpo Parks Department began construction of the new skatepark in 2022 and they hope it will be completed and ready for use in 2023.