Franco's Adds Half-Pipe for Profits


MANDEVILLE, LA — Kids today like different activities than their parents. Gone are the days of pick-up ball and stolen bases and in are action sports and 50-50 grinds.

To help capture some of that market, Franco's Athletic Club has launched the inaugural summer of its Tony Hawk Skate Park. Franco's reportedly is the first health club in the nation to be fully equipped with Tony Hawk's new Ramp Logic skating equipment, featuring half-pipes, fun boards, rails and quarter-pipes. Fees are $4 for members and $7 for guests.

“We are thrilled to have created the first park for skateboarders in Mandeville,” said Sandy Franco, who owns the athletic club with her husband, Ron. “Skateboarding appeals to a wide age group, but especially to the hard-to-reach 10- to 13-year-olds. It is great exercise and fits right into our overall mission to create a culture of health and fitness for every age group.”

Skateboarding originated as an offshoot of surfboarding in California in the 1960s and now boasts more than 9 million skateboarders in the United States. With the advent of the X-Games, Gravity Games and the popularity of skateboard icon Tony Hawk, it has become an influential sport in American pop culture. The most popular selling video game today is Tony Hawk's Skateboarding, and a skateboarding illustration graced the cover of The New Yorker magazine last summer.

Franco's Athletic Club, which is celebrating its 15th anniversary, also has two Junior Olympic lap pools, 11 tennis courts, racquetball courts, an indoor gymnasium, supervised child care, and more than 150 classes a week, along with summer camp for all ages. The club is currently undergoing a $2 million expansion.

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