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In the News Index

Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Date: January 12, 2005
Byline: Michael Hinkelman


City skate-park project picks up speed

Skateboarders will soon get a chance to weigh in on a new skate park planned to compensate them for their banishment from LOVE Park.

City officials plan to introduce the design team for the venue — headed by Anthony Bracali Architects — at City Hall at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow. Officials also will announce times and places for community meetings to get public feedback, said Maxine Griffith, executive director of the City Planning Commission.

The first community meeting is Jan. 28 at 6:30 p.m. at the University of the Arts, she said.

Griffith said she hopes a design can be completed in time for a groundbreaking this summer. The skate park will be built next to the baseball fields on the south side of Eakins Oval near the Park Towne apartments.

Mayor Street banned skateboarding at LOVE Park because of complaints that skateboarders were inconveniencing the lunchtime crowd.

City officials hope the new venue will be a showcase that boosts Philly's reputation as a mecca for one of the fastest-growing and most popular youth sports.

"We want the skate park to be on the cover of skateboarding magazines," Griffith said. "It's important to offer amenities to keep young people here."

She said construction of the park, pending design, could cost $2 million or more and would likely be financed by selling naming rights to a corporate sponsor.

Skateboard activist Josh Nims is leading a campaign to secure the financing. "Now, we're in a position to sell the project in earnest," he said yesterday. He said he has been working with a naming-rights agency to identify potential sponsors.

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