Friday, March 7, 2008

Sk8board parks in Philly

Okay, I have to be totally honest, I am not a thrasher. I 've never hit a switch and to be real honest, I always thought a 50/50 grind was half hoagie, half cheesesteak. In fact in my younger years, I used to stand on the porch of my rowhome, pelt rocks at the heads of kids on boards and laugh as they went crashing down onto the hard asphalt (I am not condoning this behavior).

However, when the City of Philadelphia (i.e. former Mayor John Street) announced its plans back in 2003 to create a skateboard mecca in hopes of replacing the one it "greened" over in Love Park, I had to admit I was pretty siked.


Because it was the right thing to do (unlike throwing rocks at little kids' heads).

Philadelphia used to have an international reputation as a world class skateboard destination, bringing millions of "thrashers" to the city just to pop a wheelie off of the head of the famous Thinking Man statue. Putting aside the millions in revenue these skaterboys and girls would bring annually to our city. Philly also benefitted from a even greater reputation of being a major city that is not only welcoming to young people but acccepting of young folks who are often viewed as being on the fringes of society.

Of course, that was five years ago. And the dream of a skater haven has yet to be fullfilled. Funding, placement and space had all been reasons cited as to why the project had stalked for so long. And with the city undergoing a "revitilization," which seems to focusing alot of its energy on high priced condos and casinos, many people were beginning to feel that the project might get filed in the back rooms of City Hall under the tagline, "never going to happen."

So Was it all talk?

Maybe not.

Last December, the city's Commerce Department awarded a $1 million grant to the Franklin’s Paine Skatepark Fund, a non-profit organization which has been raising money for this much anticipated City Park designed for skateboarding, events and general public use. So far, a preliminary plan will have the skatepark located at the north end of Schuylkill Banks, it
will add an exciting outdoor recreation site on the popular 1.2 mile venue along the lower banks of the Schuylkill River.

Jamie Elfant, organizer with Franklin Paine, will be my guest on People, Places & Things, this Monday at 8 p.m. on Gtown Radio ( Those new to Gtown Radio should know that listening is for free and all you have to do is click the "Listen Low" or Listen High" button on the upper right hand corner of the web page.

Call in and ask question you may have about the progress to get this skatepark finally build. The number is 215-609-4301. Please, no rock throwing.

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