Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Date: June 9, 2004
Where's The Love?Resume Talks On Skateboarders At Love Park
We've been around and around on this issue of skateboarders in LOVE Park. To be frank, rarely has something so seemingly minor, at least on the surface, taken up so much energy.
We're sure city officials who've grappled with this quandary for four years feel the same way: exhausted and frustrated.
But when Friends of LOVE Park, which was in discussions with the city, announced last week that DC Shoes would kick in $1 million over 10 years for park upkeep if skateboarding was allowed, the city saw a window of opportunity open.
And it bailed.
The two sides were trying to reach a compromise that would make the park amenable to skateboarders and pedestrians. The Friends' deal with DC Shoes, a Vista, Calif. skateboard apparel company, was the last straw in what had been strained discussions. The city, angry over the way the Friends went about bringing DC Shoes on board, said no to the proposal.
We agreed then, believing that taking the cash would, in effect, pimp our citizenry.
But to hear the advocates tell it, previous compromise proposals for the park rumble strips, safety monitors, designated skateboarding hours, pedestrian skateboard-free zones, turning the closed Visitor's Center into a Skateboard Hall of Fame, weren't seriously considered.
What was the point of the conversations then?
You can close your eyes and try to wish it away, but skateboarding is a baggy-pants pop culture reality, especially at LOVE Park. The city administration, long a reluctant player in these negotiations, says allowing skateboarders in LOVE Park is not a top priority now. There are no plans to resume talks. Skateboarders are banned from the park. Oh, come on.
Unless the city is prepared to post guards at LOVE Park, a better course of action is a compromise. Resume the talks, City Hall.