• The Skatepark Project offers free resources, guidance, support and grant funding to help the average person create more skate space in their area.

Where do I start?

(A Skater, Parent, Teacher, Local Resident)

Nearly all public skatepark projects start with a local resident who takes it upon themselves to work toward creating more skate space in town. This usually results in them creating and managing a public skatepark project. Almost always a self-elected volunteer position, many “skatepark advocates” start with little knowledge or experience of public projects. They learn along the way, often using resources and guidance available through The Skatepark Project and advice they get from their allies in the local government.  

 

The Skatepark Project’s focus is to help individuals like yourself follow best practices for establishing and completing a successful skatepark project. 

Check out the information on this page to learn how it works and utilize the resources below to get started. 

You can get free guidance and technical assistance from our staff.  If you have questions, need help with an existing project or have decided to start a new skatepark project, you can connect with us by using the contact links at the bottom of the page.

 

Every public skatepark is the result of dedicated civil servants engaging with locals and understanding the need of the community. 

Often this means taking steps to make the project a priority and putting resources behind it. Some start the project themselves, some learn about the need and choose to act. Wherever someone starts, the Skatepark Project is here to assist municipal employees in their efforts to generate, complete or support local public skatepark projects. 

Our Programs Department is ready to offer free, unbiased skatepark project development guidance, technical assistance, and grant funding. We’ve been involved with thousands of projects over the last 17 years and intend to help you complete a public skatepark project efficiently and up to contemporary standards. 

Take a look at some of the top line information for successful skatepark projects on this page (particularly the Core Principles and Priorities section) then email us to set up an initial consultation or a Project Review Appointment with our staff. 

Basic PUBLIC Skatepark project INFORMATION

RESOURCES AND SUPPORT from tsp

Common questions


About Skateparks

Skateparks are a valuable community resource that provide the local and visiting action sports community with a safe place to ride. If you’re already familiar with the value of skateparks, feel free to skip down to the advocacy path and resources – but be sure to revisit these points if you decide to begin a project in your neighborhood.

Skateboarders, BMX Riders, Roller Skaters, Inline Skaters, Wheel Chair MotoCross (WCMX) riders, Adaptive Skaters and Scooter riders need a designated safe place for habitual recreation and community engagement. 

Skateparks can be seen as a playground, a gym, a creative laboratory, a community center and much more. 

We believe skatepark users encounter a physical and social environment that improves mental health, fosters community, and encourages diversity and resilience.  

Skatepark users also engage in

Cooperative athleticism

Creative self expression

Diverse community engagement

Long term habitual exercise habits (without the restrictions of league costs, coaches or practice schedules)

Perseverance through repetition and self-set goal achievement 

Emotional regulation

Inclusion

Risk analysis

For more information or studies about the impact and value of skateparks and action sports, click on the links to academic research studies in the next window, or take a look at the quotes at the bottom of the page.

 

If your town doesn’t have a skatepark, it is a skatepark.

Without a local skatepark, action sports enthusiasts of all ages and types don’t have a legal or safe place to practice their sport. They are forced to find what little space around town that can be skated, often illegally, leading to a contentious relationship with authority and lack of understanding of the value of the activity and the participant. 

In the worst cases, skaters or bikers are forced to ride in or near busy streets, resulting in dangerous conditions. The vast majority of fatalities on a skateboard are traffic related. 

When there is a local public skatepark in town, it becomes a popular gathering place for individuals to freely participate in their passion. To exercise, learn, create and self regulate. Recent academic research is revealing the benefits of skateparks and skateboarding:

A first-of-its-kind study of skateboarding culture from the University of Southern California reveals that skateboarding improves mental health, fosters community, and encourages diversity and resilience.

  • Results from this study suggest that people participating in recreational skateboarding in community skateparks achieve the CDC’s exercise recommendations for cardiovascular fitness

Communities that implement public skateparks quickly discover that it’s often the most utilized recreation facility in town. Scroll down to learn more.

Note: TSP staff is made up of skateboarders that value street skating and the creative ethos attached to it. Street skating will never disappear, but every one deserves access a safe place to ride without getting hassled.

Public Skateparks are the result of community collaboration in response to a lack of suitable action sports recreation space. Unfortunately skateparks are not yet automatically inserted into the common municipal Master Plan as more traditional athletic facilities are, like Baseball fields and Basketball courts are (fun fact: There used to be “No Stickball” signs for kids playing baseball in the streets when they didn’t have local ball field… Sound familiar?) 

These days, some cities get on board early and develop public skateparks on their own accord, bringing in the locals to help with design and community engagement at a later stage. But in general, it usually takes a dedicated local to start the process. The local volunteer (advocate) starts by learning how the process works. They then help lead the project and learn along the way. They get a group together to help, get organized and start to gather support from the city and the public. They work with the city, raise awareness and help raise funds. The whole process takes about 2-5 years of a little time every week or so. It’s not for everyone, but every skatepark is made by someone like you stepping up to make change in their community. 

The process of creating a public skatepark through activism/advocacy is outlined below. Check out this simple list to get a good idea of what it takes, then watch our Skatepark 101 video below. If you’re serious about starting a project, the Public Skatepark Development Guide will be your best friend throughout the process.

It’s a fairly straightforward process, with a few key steps. The order shifts a little bit, as some items happen around the same time. Projects initiated by city employees should include similar steps.

1) Build your Core Group (your local crew, parents of kids who skate, general supporters)

2) Establish Regular Meetings (weekly or bi weekly, time and location)

3) Make a Plan (name of group, size of park, main points, general guidelines of the project: be positive and prepared)

4) Connect with the City to create Steering Committee (Parks and Rec, City Council presentation, site selection, etc.)

5) Connect with a Skatepark Design/Construction Firm (continue refining your plan, begin design process)

6) Find a Place for Donations (most likely a local service organization acting as your bank or a fiscal sponsor)

7) Fundraise (most of the work, but there are a lot of fun events; you’ll meet the whole town, establishing yourself and team as the group creating the skatepark)

8) Prepare for Construction Process (work with the city, take steps to ensure quality, qualification process, construction bids, etc.)

9) Let it Happen!

Watch the Skatepark 101 Webinar to learn some of the fine points before starting or finishing a project.

You can also listen to a 20 minute podcast on how skateparks work.

If you’re seeking guidance on your very first actions in skatepark activism, check out our new Getting Started page on Skatepark.org.

If you”re in the middle of an existing skatepark project, use the contact form at the bottom of the page to connect with our staff. We’ll be happy to help if you have specific questions, want to enroll in our Technical Assistance Program, or apply for a grant.

Throughout your journey, be sure to learn as much as you can about all aspects of skatepark advocacy projects here: www.publicskateparkguide.org  If you’re serious about a skatepark project, this is where to study up. The PSDG has everything you need to know about a skatepark project.

Be sure to read the rest of this page to understand the key components to a successful skatepark project, and to find all the services and support available from The Skatepark Project.

KIDS DESERVE A PLACE TO GROW

Skateparks build and sustain healthy communities. As a gathering place for dedicated, athletic youth, the skatepark provides the forum for visitors young and old, beginning and skilled, to meet and share experiences. For many skateboarding youth, the skatepark becomes a home-away-from-home.

SENSE OF BELONGING

More than anyone, young people need to feel like they are recognized and appreciated by their communities. In too many places skateboarders get the wrong message from local authorities who limit or outlaw skateboarding and ignore its inherent benefits. Skateparks are the solution. Every skatepark supports hundreds of kids that might otherwise have nowhere to go.

Skateparks serve more than just male teenage skateboarders

Not only does the local skatepark support Skateboarders, BMX riders, Roller Skaters, Scooter riders, Wheel Chair Motocross riders and inline skaters of all ages, genders and backgrounds, having access to attractive and accessible recreation facilities affects the broader health outcomes of of the community. Skatepark users mental, emotional and physical health is affected by their participation in their passion. These effects likely resonate through the rider’s relationships and into the community. 

The Skatepark Project doesn’t build skateparks, we help people get skateparks built. This usually means ongoing conversations with advocates or city officials about the local skatepark project or citywide skatepark system. We offer free, unlimited support to assist project leaders in their efforts to follow best practices and avoid common pitfalls. 

 

Our services can include:

-Technical Assistance

-Peer to Peer Learning Opportunities

-Workshops & Skatepark Summits (link to schedule below)

-Access to Learning Materials (Pubic Skatepark Guide.org, The Skatepark Podcast) (LINKS)

-Case Studies

-Letters of Support

-Social Media Acknowledgement

-Grant Funding

 

TSP Programs Department Support

Our team is ready and willing to support any skatepark project that fits our mission and priorities. Reach out to us at Contact@skatepark.org or use the contact form below.

 

Built To Play – If you live in SE Michigan or Western NY, you may be eligible to receive up to $300,000 in matching grants thanks to the Built to Play Program with support from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation

 

This support is brought to the public by supporters like you and our partnerships.

 

 

 

Quotes from Locals

Manchester, VT

From Nolan Hillard, Long Trail School junior:

“Being a part of the Skatepark committee has given me the chance to experience civic involvement at a young age. Being a sixteen year old, the skatepark committee was a great way for me to take part in the community and be an active citizen and it gives me the chance to see how the system works from the inside. Over the course of the project, I became more confident and comfortable with the team members on the committee and I had the time to fully understand the new design and get used to the details of the new park. When I first joined the committee, I was under the impression that the skatepark project would be finished within 8 months at most but after being part of the process, I can see that anything involving a community takes time because there is a lot of coordination required.

The response to the project from my peers is very positive. I have had many kids come up to me at school and ask about when the skatepark will be built or any other details that they are interested in. Everyone who has asked questions about the park seems excited about the project and the outcome.

The skatepark is important to me because I really want to improve my skills on the scooter and the NEW skatepark is the perfect place for that. Another reason that the skatepark is important to me is that it is going to be a great attraction in Manchester which will bring people together and entertain thousands of people for years to come. The skatepark committee is a great thing to be part of and I can’t wait for everyone to enjoy the new park.”

 

“This has brought our community leaders together with merchants and skaters across all ethnicities and socio-economic levels to understand each other: from skaters wanting and needing a place to skate to business owners seeing the value of providing a place to skate so that our city as a whole isn’t a giant skatepark with the misperceptions that can come from it.” 

 -Whitney Pickering

“I learned that anything is possible and in 2019 I will be running for City Council.”

-Kyle Little

Quotes from municipalities

“There was no single project that was undertaken during my years as Mayor that had a bigger and more positive impact on the community.  The skatepark is used constantly, it is used by people of all sizes, shapes, colors, genders, ages, you name it, people visit our skatepark, they love our skatepark and perhaps more importantly, they work very hard to protect and maintain our skatepark.  It is emblematic of what community is all about and I could not be more proud to have been a part of making it happen. And more grateful to the The Skatepark Project for their role.”

Mayor Jennifer Laird White

“My involvement in the project has included engaging with local youth, which is a group I don’t interface with frequently in this role. It is positive to see this age group involved in a project in their community and I hope that the experience will encourage them to be engaged citizens throughout their lives.”

 -Tom Devine, City of Salem.

“The park is used by skaters from early morning to late into the evening.   The activity in the park has reduced or almost eliminated homeless people from living on the site.   Business at the adjacent commercial businesses and restaurants has improved.”

 – Maurice Kaufman, City of Emeryville