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Free LOVE Park

Free LOVE Park

Ed Bacon signs a skateboard
Edmund Bacon (1910-2005), who conceived LOVE Park, signs a skateboard on the first day of summer, 2005. Pics

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LOVE Park (JFK Plaza) was built in the 1960s at the eastern end of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and across from City Hall. In the late 1980s, by an accident of history, young people discovered that the park's curving stairs and ledges were perfect for skateboarding.

LOVE Park in Philadelphia is famous as a mixed-use urban space and world capital of skateboarding, celebrated by millions as one of the most recognized landmarks of a $2 billion-a-year industry.

LOVE Park is a celebrated venue for Street Skateboarding, a popular form of the sport that uses natural urban features, rather than manufactured ramps. Because of LOVE Park, Philadelphia was home to some of the world's top skateboarding professionals, and was the centerpiece of ESPN's X Games, making Philadelphia the only city to hold the Games twice in a row.

kidskateboarder
Skateboarding in LOVE Park

The City's 2002 enforcement of the ban on skateboarding in LOVE Park dealt a major blow to Philadelphia's ability to position itself as a magnet for youth and the creative economy, in the context of its ongoing urban renaissance. The young, hip, and connected demographic that Philadelphia seeks to attract saw LOVE Park as an icon of its culture, and the City's stance as an indicator of its position toward youth and progress.

In the interest of developing a compromise solution, in the summer of 2004, a coalition of civic organizations lobbied the City to ease its prohibition on skateboarding in LOVE Park. A number of disparate organizations formed the Friends of Love Park (FOLP) and developed a "Balanced Solution" to address the concerns of many different park users while returning skating to LOVE Park on a limited basis.

prohibited

The Balanced Solution won wide support from many of Philadelphia's leading citizen voices and organizations including: The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Philadelphia Daily News, Council Majority Leader Jannie Blackwell, City Council Parks and Recreation Committee Chairwoman Blondell Reynolds-Brown, then-City Controller Jonathan Saidel, former City Planning Director Edmund N. Bacon, the park's architect Vincent G. Kling, Young Involved Philadelphia, the Logan Square Neighbors Association, and the Independence Hall Association.

FOLP obtained 10,000 signatures in support of the Balanced Solution, from 40 countries across the globe. Additionally, FOLP secured over $1,000,000 in contributions to fund the initial renovations and activities of the organization. The Balanced Solution, in short, limited skateboarding to after 3:00 PM on weekdays, separating it from the lunch crowd; created pedestrian-only pathways separated by grass strips from the areas where skateboarding is permitted; and established that a nonprofit organization would raise the funds to pay for the park's maintenance, thereby relieving the taxpayer of any such cost.

It was a strong plan, with vast support, creating a compromise to benefit the civic good and the City's future. However, the Mayor's office rejected the plan. Philadelphia still awaits a foresighted mayor and City Council to re-shape the course of history and bring skateboarding back to LOVE Park!

CITY COUNCIL SCORECARD
Allow skateboarding in LOVE Park

• Jannie Blackwell
• Blondell Reynolds Brown
• Frank DiCicco
• Jack Kelly
• James Kenney
• Joan L. Krajewski
• Brian J. O'Neill
• Frank Rizzo
• Marian B. Tasco

Not yet officially on-board

Darrell Clarke, 5th District (LOVE's district)
• Wilson Goode, Jr.
• Bill Green
• William Greenlee
• Curtis Jones
• Donna Reed Miller
• Maria D. Quiñones-Sánchez
• Anna C. Verna

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Website launched May 22, 2003

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