When you find yourself building the language around your advocacy campaign you will have lots of reasons for the new skatepark. Each reason addresses a need or provides a specific value to your community. Here are some of the reasons we’ve heard being used effectively by advocates.
1. The skatepark will provide a safe place to recreate.
A majority of the deadly accidents that happen to people while they’re skateboarding involve a motor vehicle. In towns and cities across the nation the most interesting terrain for skateboarding is found in the streets and sidewalks. The skatepark will be the safe place to skate but for it to be effective it must be more interesting than what’s out “in the wild.”
2. Skateparks, if designed and constructed correctly, are fiscally conservative and require very little maintenance.
When a skatepark is built correctly it will require virtually no structural maintenance for years. The nation’s oldest skateparks have been servicing skateboarders for 30 years and most have required little more than cosmetic maintenance. For a skatepark to meet this high expectation it should feature no fixtures; all of the materials used that are intended to be skated on should be fixed into the forms with grout and concrete. (In other words, skateparks that require no maintenance have no kick-plates, screws, bolts, or other components that will loosen through vibration and weather over the years.)
3. Skateboarders are currently under-served in the area.
As a community we understand that we need to support our youth who wish to pursue active, healthy lifestyles. Without community support those groups are required to build their own support systems outside of our community. Do we want to sit by while a significant portion of our youth meet their recreational needs with no support or involvement from our community?
4. Skateboarding has millions of participants nationally and is growing while team sports participation is in decline.
When one considers that skateboarding is the third most popular recreational activity for kids between 6 and 18 years old, it might be assumed there would be skateparks all across our community. We have baseball fields, soccer pitches, jogging paths, and plenty of other places for people to be active. Yet we have no skateparks! It’s time to address the needs of today’s recreational youth.
5. Skateboarding is a 2.5-billion dollar industry.
For decades skateboarding has been on the leading edge of youth marketing. Today it’s serious business with lucrative video games, television shows, and brand names that launch dozens of product lines. With all of this marketing, more kids than ever before are eager to learn to skate. The demand is enormous and skateparks are the place to start.
6. Skateboarders are a vital part of urban communities.
Skateboarding has been a commonplace feature of the urban environment for over 40 years, and a part of American culture since the 1950s. It’s so popular with youth that today there is no city on the planet that doesn’t have it’s own skateboarding group of kids. Our local skateboarders are not part of a fringe group of kids who are into something unique and uncommon.
7. A skatepark can attract skateboarding tourists if designed to do so.
Dozens of skateparks in the United States—and abroad—enjoy a reputation for being places that skaters dream of visiting someday. For skaters, places like Burnside, Kettering, Orcas, Louisville, Black Pearl, Lincoln City, and others share an allure that rivals Disneyland.
8. With national health issues looming for today’s youth, it’s time to offer a greater number of healthy, athletic choices.
You don’t often see obese skateboarders. Lots of skateboarders skate several times a week and often for hours at a time. There is clearly a commitment for these kids to develop their skills, yet they do this without coaches, leagues, and often without even an appropriate place to do it.
9. The low cost to participation makes it accessible to everyone.
Skateboarding is inexpensive and is economically feasible to any family’s financial situation. While hand-me-down equipment is commonplace, even a new skateboard can be purchased for around $60 and last for years if taken care of. That’s all a person needs. There is no additional equipment, no “green fees,” no travel expenses. To get into skateboarding one only needs a skateboard and a place to do it.
10. Thousands of other communities understand the value of skateparks.
If they had the opportunity to do it again, when asked what they might have done differently with their skateparks many Parks directors claim they would have made the skatepark larger. When skateparks are designed to succeed, they succeed wildly. If you contact any Parks Department with a successful skatepark, they will rank it as one of their most popular, well-used facilities. (Seriously, try it!)
11. Skating in a park is much safer than skating in the streets.
In 2006, 42 people riding skateboards died. Of those, 40 of them were not in a skatepark and 27 of those involved a motor vehicle. In other words, of these 42 deaths, 40 of them might have been prevented had the person been skating in a skatepark instead of the streets.
12. Our community already has hundreds, and maybe thousands of skateboarders.
The skatepark visitors are ready to go. We don’t need to wait and hope that patronage emerges over time. They are here now.
13. In the future there are going to be many legitimate places to skate in the city. The time to embark on that positive future is now.
Creating a skatepark in our community is inevitable. It’s only a matter of time before everyone comes to understand the opportunity skateparks represent. There is no reason to delay the investigation any longer. The time to start this process is today…right now.
14. A skatepark is a place where skateboarders and other people who might not cross paths in the street can come together.
Skateparks are social spaces that will attract interest from all parts of our community. In cities across the nation the local skatepark is a landmark that everyone is familiar with. Our skatepark will include amenities that visitors can enjoy so that it’s understood by eveyrone—skaters and onlookers—that we appreciate and support what these kids are doing.
15. Skateparks can displace other less desirable activities in an area.
Skaters love skateboarding. That’s what they’re into. For the dedicated skater, any activity that disrupts their time skateboarding is going to be a problem…and few obstacles will prevent the skater from pursuing it. When skateparks are built in places where there are existing problems—criminal activity, vandalism, and so on—the skaters will serve to displace those people who prefer a remote, secluded environment.
16. The skatepark can be an attraction for family outings.
It is increasingly common to see families skating together. Often, a mother or father that skated in their youth has their interest rekindled when their children get into it. It’s a great way for a family to spend time together yet without requiring a lot of planning, expense, or preparation.
17. Skateboarding is cool and the skatepark will enhance the community’s reputation.
There’s no doubt that skateboarding is often at the center of whatever happens to be popular among today’s youth. For lots of people, spending time at the skatepark will be something cool to do that doesn’t cost any money. For our community, having a great skatepark will serve to show the region that we understand how to engage our young adults.
18. Good skateparks have volunteers to help maintain the facility.
The central members of the skatepark committee will become the stewards of that facility. As skateboarders dedicated to the park, we will work with Parks to host lessons, workshops, and other events. We will be at the skatepark regularly and will protect the facility that we’ve worked so hard for.
19. Skateparks can draw skateboarders away from less appropriate areas.
If we don’t have a skatepark, people will continue to skate wherever there is compelling terrain. We should put the skatepark where we want there to be activity and away from those places where we don’t.
20. Young and old people enjoy skateparks.
Skating has been a part of our culture for more than 50 years. There are skateboarders well into their 50s who still enjoy pushing around a park. The skatepark is a place where the young and old can recreate together as equals. This is important for adult skateboarders but equally important for the younger set.
21. Skateparks support vibrant, healthy communities, just like many other athletic facilities.
Every good skatepark has a group of regular patrons. These people may not know each other socially outside of skateboarding but at the skatepark they are friends and colleagues. The brotherhood of skateboarders has strong bonds that cross economic, geographic, and even language barriers. Skateparks are a great way of starting that kind of social cohesion right here.
22. Skateboarding is mainstream.
With 13-million participants in the U.S., skateboarding can hardly be characterized as a niche group of special users. In fact, skateboarding is as popular (and often more so) than most “all-American” sports. We see skateboarding in commercials. There are television shows about skateboarding and starring famous skaters.
23. Skateboarding is a popular spectator sport.
There are more than 2-million skateboarding videos on YouTube with many featuring over 5-million views each.
24. Skateparks are flexible in design and can work in many different size plots.
Donald, Oregon features one of the nation’s most well-known skateparks. It is 2,500 square feet, cost $35,000 to build, and serves a town population of 750 residents. Yet it attracts celebrity skateboarders and others from across the nation.
25. The skatepark will be a place to go after school.
For skaters, the skatepark provides a third place in their lives. For the most dedicated skaters they will spend most of their free time at the park. The skatepark will have the amenities necessary for providing a comfortable place for its visitors, including secure places to drop a backpack, set a bottle of water, or just sit and relax.
26. Neighborhood skateparks allow younger skaters to recreate safely close to home.
As a matter of public safety we prefer to have our children recreating close to home or in places that are safe in the public eye. That is why our skateparks should be near where the skaters live.
27. This skatepark effort will turn skaters into community activists.
While some people may consider skateboarders the dregs of society, we will see their passion applied to phases in the process that will rival any other community action group.
28. There are experts who will help our community plan the skatepark.
The people behind the world’s most successful skateparks are available to help us plan for our own success, and they’re eager to be involved. With so much experience at our disposal we are confident that our new skatepark will be phenomenal.
29. The best time to start the new skatepark is today.
It costs us nothing to begin planning for the new skatepark. However, those plans will become a catalyst for local youth to engage in the civic process. The only thing we need right away is a commitment to mutual collaboration on the new skatepark plans. There is no value in delay.
30. If a city doesn’t have a skatepark, it is a skatepark.
Skateboarding is happening with or without a skatepark. By not supporting our local youth with a skatepark, it doesn’t mean they’ll quit skating. It just means we are putting them at risk of injury and run-ins with law enforcement.