In 2004, the City of Round Rock, TX allocated $110,000 to build a public skatepark. Local skaters had petitioned the city a few years earlier about the need for a place to skate. However, by the time the project was finally approved, all those involved had either given up or moved on. With no skaters to help guide the project, the city officials were looking for the simplest, cheapest route to build some type of skate facility.
I contacted the city in late 2004 and was told that the project still in the early planning stages and that no decisions had been made yet. Yet just a few months later, I checked back and learned that the city was already seeking approval to fund a concrete slab upon which modular skatepark equipment could be installed. After learning this news, I immediately began writing emails to the mayor and city council to inform them of the benefits of building a permanent concrete skatepark. I gave many examples of concrete skateparks across the state that had been built within the current budget. I notified a few other local skaters and we all voiced our concerns at the next council meeting. Fortunately, the city leaders listened to us and the plan to buy a modular skatepark was postponed until it could be more thoroughly researched.
At the direction of the city leaders, the local skaters began meeting with the city parks department to discuss our needs and desires for a suitable skatepark. We made it very clear that a permanent concrete skatepark was the best option; however, the city was still not yet convinced. They wanted to hear more input from the local skate community. Fortunately, around that same time, a modular skatepark builder was in the area and held a demonstration for the city. Knowing this information in advance, we were able to leverage the event to not only show the huge demand for a skatepark, but it also gave many other skaters the chance to tell the city their desires for a skatepark. Overwhelmingly, concrete was preferred over modular.
The city was finally convinced that a concrete park was the best option, but they now had concerns that the budget was too small to support the demand. They had just seen at least 70 skaters show up to skate a few pieces of pieces of modular equipment in a parking lot. So I continued encouraging more parents and skaters to became involved by writing emails and speaking at council meetings. It took a lot of effort, but over time, by applying constant steady pressure, the city leaders finally recognized the need and increased the budget to $400,000.
I gave many examples of concrete skateparks across the state that had been built within the current budget. I notified a few other local skaters and we all voiced our concerns at the next council meeting. Fortunately, the city leaders listened to us and the plan to buy a modular skatepark was postponed until it could be more thoroughly researched.
Today Round Rock skatepark is considered to be one of the best skateparks in the state. The whole key to making a successful skatepark is to get involved and stay involved.