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In the News Index

Source: Logan News Group
Date: June 10, 2003
Byline: Press Release

Philadelphia Cares Takes up "Skateboard" Space

At a recent meeting of Community volunteers, activists, and organizers hosted by The Philadelphia Foundation and Philadelphia Cares "Space for skaters" emerged as the top vote getting focus group.

The series of Focus Group meetings results will be published at a later date by Philadelphia Cares. The second largest number of votes went to "Open space Development" and use or access to so called 'brown fields'.

The "plight" of skaters seems to be in the forefront of not only media activists but community activists in general. Only briefly introducing the idea as a concept or consideration of creative use of large swaths of vacant land that dot Philadelphia's neighborhoods, Michael blackie of The logan TIMES~Independent said "I'm surprised at the support the idea received in the room".

Blackie has been lambasted publicly for taking a stand for skate boarders after he and his staff witnessed the arrest and harassment of several skaters at Dilworth plaza outside City Hall back on Mother's Day Sunday, may 10th.

Since then there has been a flood of daily e-mail to Blackie's Logan News Group both "For" and "against" skaters. "But, mostly just nasty comments for defending their cause." says Blackie.

"I'm not even a skater-never was, but I deplore any type of aggressive activity by the police against skaters as long as our local neighborhoods are plagued by bigger problems and they do nothing about it" he said.

In fact Logan is an "Underdog" neighborhood-stuck with the stigma of poverty ridden, crime infested and the "Sinking Homes" debacle which is now ancient history, Blackie says "Logan is a neighborhood on it's way back the Phoenix arising from the ashes".

He says that's what led him to take a stand on behalf of the skate boarders.

"I've always been a champion of the underdog". Blackie is not alone in his adopting the cause of skaters. Republican Mayoral Candidate Sam katz recently made it a Campaign Issue. Albeit a stunt, or a publicity move Blackie gives Katz credit for at least coming forward for skate board parks and "Legalizing" skate boarding. Incumbent mayor Street notoriously closed LOVE Park to skaters and made it illegal to skate in "Public Spaces" and he has continued to 'demonize' innocent skaters.

Skaters who Blackie calls "Live Performance Artists" and "Creative" individualists. The debate continues: To skate, or not to skate?

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