Do-It-Yourself Skate Parks in St. LouisMay 5, 2010
Skateboarding is an Urban sport. In St. Louis, Do-It-Yourself skateparks have been some of the most positive urban developments in recent years. With locations around the city, some more visible than others, from Gratiot and Spring (recently replaced by School Bus Parking) to Delmar and Cardinal, these skate parks are positive contributions to their respective neighborhoods and to our city as a whole. In visiting these sites (usually at random and completely by accident), I have encountered enthusiastic people about whom I have nothing but good things to say.
Unfortunately, the organizations that build these skate parks are the least likely to receive public support or assistance. Recently, Steve Patterson chose the idea of a skate park as his ideal addition to the gateway mall. I agree with this and believe that our city can sustain as many skate parks as the city or skaters can build.
Influences ranging from Tony Hawk to Lupe Fiasco have popularized skateboarding so much over the past decade, that its draw is something cities should not refrain from taking advantage of. Mayor Slay seems to have some understanding of this, as he recognized Ramp Riders (in the old bottling works of the Falstaff Brewery) for their contributions to the city. I think that the DIY skateparks deserve the same recognition.
Here are some photos of a few local Do-It-Yourself skateparks (and here is the Facebook page of St. Louis DIY Skateparks). Thanks to those who have devoted their time and energy to these projects! I hope to continue seeing constructive reuse of otherwise wasted space!