Why Not a Public Skate Park?

Public testimony to Garland City Council on October 17, 2017:

There are few of us who object to a dog park, but many of us who object to the Little League losing a practice field important to them.

There are few of us who object to new recreational facilities for our children and teens, including skate parks, but many of us who object to forging ahead at Central Park without considering even the most basic guidelines regarding appropriate siting to minimize criminal behavior, as recommended by the Tony Hawk Foundation, the International Association of Skateboard Companies, and Skaters for Public Skateparks. 

The Armory site at Central Park fails their recommendation on multiple levels, and building there could put us in the same position as Rowlett a few years ago. They built an 18,000 square foot skate park at Herfurth Park in 2002, and closed and dismantled it at a huge financial loss in 2008, just 6 years later, due to "fighting, alcohol and drug use, graffitti, unsafe equipment, and an increase in police calls to the facility."

They did not plan well.

An additional consideration is the current national downward trajectory of skateboarding as noted in a brand new study published by GoSkate Skateboard School. Here are a few highlights to consider:

  • Google searches for "skate parks" dropped over 85% from 2004 - 2017.
  • Google searches for "skateboarding" dropped 90% during that same time period.
  • In the seven years between 2006 and 2014, the number of skateboarding participants aged between 6 and 17 years decreased from 8.75 million to less than 4 million.

This doesn't mean it can't turn around. It just means some wisdom and due diligence should be exercised before making this leap lest we leap right into a sinking boat and end up wasting money and looking foolish.

Excerpted from District 2 resident Deborah Morris' testimony.