Free Skateparks and Social Responsibility

Since its inception in the early 1970's, skateboarding has always set a precendent for creativity and individuality. In the last few years, the momentum has picked up significantly and communities are starting to see the need for providing local individuals with a place to skate. Skaters will always find a place to have a session, it's just a matter of determining whether the city is going to support their activity or continue to object to street skating as many communities still do.

Many cities are waking up to the fact that public skateparks are a necessary part of the local community.How a community funds a public skatepark varies in many ways. Some skateparks receive funding from local organizations in support of recreational ameneties and sometimes funding comes from local support and grass-roots fundraising. Some companies will donate materials for the project as a tax write-off. Ad space is sometimes auctioned off in order to secure additional funding. Most public skateparks are constructed with a combination of grant money and money raised by the community.

Most of the hard work put into getting a community to consider a public skatepark comes from advocates who labor intensively get these projects pushed thru the local governments. Sometimes, these advocates aren't even skateboarders. One advocate, a retired businesswoman and City Councilwoman took up the fight for public skateparks when her grandson noted his frustration with simply trying to find a pace to skate. Cities put so much public effort and tax-dollars into city parks and other recreational facilities, someone just needs to point them in the right direction and get them to realize that public skateparks provide a place for local skaters to have fun and stay out of trouble. This keeps most skaters off the streets and gives them an area where they can perfect their skills and enjoy themselves. The value is inarguable to the community.

Building a public skateparks doesn't necessarily mean the community understands all the aspects of being socially responsible. Part of the understanding comes from learning how to best manage these facilities. Westminster Skatepark in Wesminster, Colorado reversed its 'Helmets Required' rule once city officials realized that staying hands-off actually decreased their liability.

Exerting too much control requires the city to enforce their own rules which ends up costing even more money. Enforcing such rules at some public skateparks would be next to impossible. The Denver Skatepark, at over 60,000 square feet is the largest of its kind in the country, does not require pads and has not reported any injuries. This is attributed to most skaters knowing that they are skating at their own risk.

Relaxing the rules can be more beneficial to eveyone because the city is balancing what the skaters want and an acceptable amount of risk the city is willing to assume.

.Free Skateparks - Learn, review and submit information about free skateparks in your community at this worldwide skatepark directory.

By: Dwight Maskew

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