Indianapolis, Indiana

NOTE: The fine folks over at The Solitary Life were kind enough to donate this update. We encourage you to check them out. More important are the challenges facing Indianapolis’ public skatepark. The skatepark is currently concrete, free, and open 24-hours a day. In spite of it only being 15,000 square feet, it is the sole skatepark for America’s 11th-largest city. It needs to be protected and you can help!

While this conflict has been in play for quite a while now, it’s important to not let it fall off our collective radar. We feature this story in the interest of showing our skateboarding brothers and sisters in Indianoplis our national support.

There’s been a flurry of activity lately regarding the future of Indianapolis’ skatepark(s). We here at The Solitary Life wanted to pass on what we’ve learned, while doing our part [whatever we can, at least] to advance the cause.

Major Taylor skatepark has been around for about ten years now. It’s located near the corner of Cold Spring Rd. and 38th Street. It sits beside the Major Taylor Velodrome, (a race track for bicycles), and other park features. It’s concrete, free, and open daily from dusk until dawn. I think that it’s safe to say that everyone in Indianapolis skates it at least a few times a year. Many skate it weekly, or even daily.

Major Taylor skatepark is at risk of being shut down.

Online, there’s a petition that anyone can sign, to advance the cause of keeping Major Taylor open. It can be found here: http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/savemajortaylor/

Here is a summary of the issue and the petition drafted by supporters of the skatepark:

“This petition is in response to the upcoming acquisition of the Major Taylor Velodrome facility and skate park by Marian College.

Indianapolis has a population of approximately 810,000, and is the 11th-largest city in the nation. It has one public skatepark and—along with the rest of the sports complex surrounding the skatepark—is in the process of being turned over to Marian College, (a private school), for “management”. The sports complex features the skatepark, a velodrome, and a BMX dirt track.

The college is primarily interested in the velodrome as a training and event facility for its bicycle-racing team. Initially, the college wanted the skatepark demolished but the City would not accept that proposal.

The College’s next request was to charge an admission fee with no intent to redirect those funds back into the skatepark. After discovering that they would be required to get an insurance policy if the park was staffed, they determined they would have set hours for the skatepark. (The skatepark had previously been open all day.)

While open, the skatepark serves the needs of literally thousands of skateboarders. Being the only facility in the City, it can have hundred of visitors in a single day. According to market research reports and the 2006 U.S. Census, it is estimated that there are over 40,000 skateboarders in the Indianapolis area.

The skatepark opened in 2000 and is the flagship facility of the skateboarding, BMX, and inline skating communities in Indianapolis. The skatepark has hosted contests, events, and dozens of skate clinics. For countless youth the skatepark provides a safe place to recreate, socialize, and practice skateboarding. The skatepark is vital to Indianapolis youth in spite of being too small, outdated, and insufficient for the growing population. The solution is clearly MORE skateparks, not less.

The majority of skateboarders who use the skatepark don’t understand why Marion College feels a need to influence the operations of this popular and important facility.

The City has been approached many times by the locals offering to donate services to maintain the skatepark and to raise funds to keep it open. These offers have been declined. To put this skatepark in the hands of a privately run institution—with its own priorities separate from those of Indianopolis youth—is not a viable solution. It is wrong. Indianopolis desparately needs this skatepark.

The undersigned ask is that the skatepark remain PUBLIC, FREE, and OPEN 24 hours a day. There has never been a problem with this in the past decade of operation and we would like to keep it that way.

Thank you,
The Skaters of Indianapolis Indiana and Friends