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Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

Stewy’s Skate Park concessionaire ramps up for another year


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Sean Cunningham considered not renewing his lease as concessionaire at Stewy’s Skate Park.

Between his other job doing maintenance at Campers Holiday in Brooksville and taking care of his two teenage children, Cunningham said it was overwhelming at times.

But when skateboarders and other regulars urged him to stay on selling cold drinks and snacks and even offered to help him pick up the trash around the park, Cunningham began to give in.

He signed on for another year of operating the concession after his son, Gavin, and daughter, Jourdan, also agreed to help their father doing odd jobs at the business.

“I’ve got it for another year,” Cunningham said. “Then, we’ll see how it goes.”

Russ Wetherington, assistant Hernando County administrator for general services, said he wasn’t sure Cunningham was going to stay. “He was kind of back and forth,” Wetherington said.

But he is glad Cunningham re-upped because the county has someone at the park during most of the day and the concession stand gives skateboarders a place to buy refreshments and snacks.

“It’s been good for both sides,” Wetherington said.

Stewy’s, part of Pioneer Park at 6799 Pinehurst Drive in Spring Hill, fell into disrepair after a previous concessionaire left and the county was forced to take over operations. It even was in danger of closing.

Cunningham was awarded the rental bid and opened the concession. He put a fresh coat of paint on the place and almost from the beginning formed a connection with kids and adults who began returning to the park.

Then, less than one month after he took over, the place was vandalized. Cunningham said there has not been any subsequent vandalism to speak of, and the county has cooperated whenever he has called for help.

Cunningham said he reminds parents who drop off their kids at the park that he does not run a day-care and cannot supervise their children. In fact, Stewy’s is unsupervised until he arrives to open the snacks concession.

Cunningham said people who patronize Stewy’s are tight-knit and look out for each other. “I appreciate all their support and realistically that’s what keeps me going,” he said.

The county opens the park’s gates at 8 a.m. daily; Cunningham closes them when he leaves at 8 p.m. On Friday he stays open until 10 p.m.

The concession opens at about 3 p.m. most days.

(352) 544-5290

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