A couple of weeks ago, we mentioned that Franklin’s Paine Skatepark Fund’s (FPSF) recently published Master Plan for creating free, accessible skate parks throughout Philadelphia. We figured you might want some more details, since studies show that 68 percent of our readers are avid skateboarders, and an additional 23 percent don’t skateboard but love reading about skateboarding. Note: Margin of error for our studies is 100%.
West and Southwest Philadelphia are the first target areas for design implementation. Over the next five years, the plan will focus its attention on numerous locations throughout these communities, many of which already contain recreation areas that could be repurposed as neighborhood skate parks. Claire Laver, the Executive Director of FPSF, emphasizes that “the importance of planning in the development of proposed recreational amenities cannot be overstated.” It’s exciting for the organization to be able to plan projects with timelines and financial projections, which are essential steps in helping them to reach their goal. Laver imagines a city “where no child has to travel farther than half a mile to access free, designated skate space.”
While these plans may seem over-ambitious, it seems like a real possibility when we assess the projects they already have in the works along with their growing level of support. Alongside the Master Plan parks, which are still being designed and outlined, FPSF is also working on eight to ten additional parks. Paine’s Park, which originated as a napkin sketch in 2002, will be located by the riverside next to the Art Museum and is expected to be among the most elite urban skate parks in the country upon completion.
Anthony Bracali, a LEED Accredited Professional and President of Friday Architects/Planners, has also partnered with FPSF and enlisted the help of CCP and Drexel students to offer design proposals and locations for new parks. Bracali, who co-designed Paine’s Park, will work on Phase One of park development in West and Southwest Philly.
If anything, these skate parks will help to revitalize recreation areas and foster community involvement. And hopefully, they can also become a source of pride among neighborhoods. FPSF is looking for tips and help in all of their projects as they announce on their website: “Take a look, and if you notice a spot you’ve skated, live in one of these neighborhoods, and are interested in volunteering, please let us know!” Interested? Email Claire or call her at 267-402-2041.
— Alex Graziano