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In the News Index

Source: Philadelphia Daily News
Date: August 4, 2003
Byline: Editorial


'LOVE' Requires Compromise

LOVE PARK PLAN IS WIN-WIN FOR BOARDERS & US

LOVE MUST OFTEN change in order to grow.

So do editorial boards. That's why this one is now giving a tentative thumbs-up to a new plan that could bring skateboarders back to LOVE Park.

Last year, we supported Mayor Street's action to shut down the park to skateboarders and redesign it to encourage wider use. We disagreed with skateboarders and their supporters that this park should be signed over to the ones who use it most. We still believe that a city park, especially one in the heart of the city, should not be designated the exclusive domain of any single group.

So what changed our love? Now on the table is a proposal that outlines a simple but workable compromise: Office workers and others could still enjoy their lunches and naps in the park, because skateboarders would be allowed to use the park only after 3 p.m. each weekday. They would also get to skateboard on the weekends.

The proposal — put forth by a coalition that includes Independence Hall Association, Young Involved Philadelphia, and the Skateboard Advocacy Network — makes a strong case for LOVE Park's iconic status as a shrine among skateboard fans across the world, yet its reasoned because it doesn't demand that iconic status entitles them to have the park to themselves. It also proposes funding sources, a plan for the "spaceship" visitors' building to become a skateboard hall of fame and shop to help raise funds for maintenance, and reinforcing structures to minimize damage.

We still want to see a design of what such a park would actually look like, and whether such a compromise can be translated to reality. If it can, then the rest should be relatively easy, since last year's $1 million refurbishment was designed to be temporary. Also, work on the Schuylkill Skatepark that was to be the LOVE Park alternative has not been done. The City's Planning Commission has come up with a strong conceptual plan, and says that it's possible that the city could end up with two skate parks.

Too bad this solution had not been put on the table a year ago. It took the vision of a non-skateboarding group, Young Involved Philadelphia, which wants to grow the city by making it young, hip and vital.

That's an idea we can also get behind. We hope the mayor can, too.

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