Lil Wayne has regularly professed his love of skating, and the Young Money boss planned to share that love with residents of New Orleans’ Lower 9th Ward by building a skatepark in the community. The “Trukstop Skatepark” was announced as part of Wayne and Mountain Dew’s “DEWeezy” marketing campaign in association with the Glu Agency.
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A grand opening for the park was held at the Lower 9th Ward Village community center in 2012, but children have barely been able to use the park since.
That same year the Glu Agency signed a leasing agreement that included paying the center’s current mortgage in full and covering all maintenance and repair. It did not include coverage of electric, plumbing, heating or cooling systems. According toNola.com, the Lower 9th Ward Village is now facing financial difficulties and may have to close.
Outside of using the park for his own recreation, Lil Wayne reportedly removed himself from involvement with the park’s construction and management. The loss of his endorsement deal with Mountain Dew over controversial lyrics on Future’s “Karate Chop (Remix)” complicated the situation.
[ALSO READ: Pepsi Co. Drops Lil’ Wayne For Offensive Lyrics]
“It was my intention, through my relationship with brand partners, to provide the good people of New Orleans with a skatepark,” said Wayne in a statement. “Unfortunately, the deal did not work out, and due to issues beyond my control, I am no longer involved with the skatepark. Helping New Orleans has always been important to me. My team and I are looking into other initiatives for the future.”
Mismanagement, not enough proper staffing, a lack of legal knowledge, and other issues are attributed to Lower 9th Ward Village’s troubles as well. Some of which founder Ward “Mack” McClendon claims were the result of the initial efforts put into the skatepark. The connection to Wayne and Mountain Dew unexpectedly dried up donations to the center says McClendon.
“People stopped giving money because they thought Lil Wayne owned the place,” McClendon claims.
While Wayne has stated he would like to help in different areas, some New Orleans residents would like to see him help with the skatepark he promised the community. PepsiCo (Mountain Dew’s parent company) is also being asked why it has not stepped in to complete the project.
Nola.com readers addressed the situation:
Mountain Dew dropped Wayne for his statements about Emmett Till. So be it. That’s no excuse for Wayne to not see a project that was allegedly so important to him to it’s full fruition. It’s as if he put his name on the project for publicity and funding and then just wanted to be able to come here and skate. – TwillDog
(Lil Wayne) if you really cared about this city you’d put your money where your mouth is. The kids need places to expend their energy. Why not invest a couple hunnid thou to help the cause. -Got2bReal
Surely PepsiCo who owns Mountain Dew can take over this project and bring it to completion. Take Little Wayne’s name off of it and [wipe] your hands clean of the Glu Agency and invest back into this project you helped start. - louisianabanker
Some readers did suggest crime activity in the area has affected business investment and perhaps the space may be better for commercial use. Other residents point out the center provides a positive environment for young people that may otherwise not have an outlet to avoid the problems in their neighborhood.
McClendon is attempting to raise $160,000 to avoid foreclosure on the Lower 9th Ward Village community center.