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Source: CentreDaily.com
Date: June 1, 2004
Byline: Associated Press


Shoe company donates $1M to reopen LOVE Park to skateboarders

PHILADELPHIA — A California shoe company has pledged $1 million to reopen one of skateboarding's most popular public venues, Philadelphia's LOVE Park.

Mayor John Street banned the activity in 2002, saying that skateboarders were causing significant damage to the granite plaza near City Hall. Skateboarders have been working to lift the unpopular ban ever since, and the city had recently indicating its willingness to reconsider.

On Monday, DC Shoes of Vista, Calif., announced that it would donate $100,000 a year for 10 years to pay for maintenance, security and upkeep of the park, which had been an international skateboarding mecca before the ban. The funding is contingent on skateboarding's return to the park.

"LOVE Park is a landmark in skateboarding's history; I am very proud that our company can do its part to help preserve (the park) to make it something that future generations can enjoy and skate," DC President Ken Block said in a statement.

DC is a subsidiary of Quiksilver Apparel, a company that caters to surfers and skateboarders.

Andrew Hohns, a spokesman for Friends of LOVE Park, said the group has been working with the city managing director's office for the past seven months to work out a compromise.

JFK Plaza, known to locals as LOVE Park because it is home to the well-known Robert Indiana sculpture, boasts low walls, benches and steps that had made it an ideal spot for skateboarding. It was featured in a video game and credited as one reason the X Games were held in Philadelphia in 2001 and 2002.

Critics of the ban, including City Council members, have said it damaged the city's efforts to attract young people.

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