Last fall, I was having a conversation with a semi-retired Kent skateboarder who now that he’s “all grown up” wants to help today’s skateboard kids have a place to skate in Kent that he never had. As you might imagine, he’s pretty stoked (his word) about the new skatepark being built on Admore Drive, but now that he’s grown up, he also sees the economic needs in the city and he’s constantly thinking up ideas to renew downtown Kent’s vibrancy. With that in mind we were having one of those “wouldn’t it be great” conversations where we said how cool it would be to not just have a skateboard bowl but to actually have a skateboard trail that took kids (and semi-retired old timers) around town, including downtown. We thought the concept was a bit crazy so we let it go at that, until this morning when I heard other cities were doing our idea.
The idea was to adapt those fitness trails you see with periodic pull up bars or tricep dips and replace that equipment with periodic skateboard apparatus. As typically happens in those brainstorming sessions, we took the concept further and suggested creating a looped skateboard trail (with technical station areas) that connected downtown to Kent State campus.
In the “it’s a small world” category, one of the leading skateboard park design experts had bumped into my blog post about Kent’s skatepark and he emailed me to ask how it was going. I let him know that Parks and Recreation continues to try to do fund raising and they hope to do some construction work this year once the weather breaks.
Being the good skatepark consultant that he is, he shared with me some information about some other cities that he said were doing some really cool stuff, including what he called skate trails and skate spots (mini-parks).
So much for our original idea. Anyways here’s some the information that he sent and the links to see the skate trails and skate spots.
You know Dave… I’ve been working on two consulting projects that might interest you as city manager.
One is a “skate trails” project in Downingtown, Pa where small skatespots, street and transition oriented, are added along existing recreation trails. May be some different federal and state moneys that can be tapped when you present it that way. The English have been doing some good things in terms of design ideas (sketchyskateboarding), check out stokeplaza and spots links, as has the town of West Linn, OR. There is a case study on their trails at http://www.skatersforpublicskateparks.org/
The other thing is just the simplest thing: mini-ramps wherever you can put them. 16 feet wide, 3 feet high- just another piece of recreational equipment in an existing playground (in theory). There are a few good skater-owned modular companies that are making solid mini-ramps– see photo of part of a NJ beachfront park attached. GREAT RAMP for young and old- everybody loves a fun miniramp session.
I’m not looking for work, just letting you know about a couple of cool ideas out there that the locals could be working as new angles to create something special and fundable.
Have a great day and thanks for running that piece. It is 5 years old now and reminded me that I need to get some updated “scholarship” out there. BTW- here’s what I’ve been working on in Philadelphia for the last four years. http://www.phillyskatepark.com/
Joshua Nims, J.D.
Schuylkill River Development Corporation
2929 Arch Street, 13th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19104-7395
(215) 222-6030 x106