Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Date: June 1, 2004
Byline: Inquirer Staff Writer
Shoe Company offers $1 million to reopen LOVE Part to skateboardersThe push to re-open Philadelphia's LOVE Park to skateboarders got a big boost today, in the form of a $1 million check from sneaker manufacturer DC Shoes.
The money would pay for 10 years of upkeep and maintenance on the site, which was a famous skateboarding attraction until the city banished the sport in 2002. City officials said years of skateboarding had damaged the plaza, located between 15th and 16th Streets at Benjamin Franklin Parkway in Center City.
Since the closing, skateboarders and other activists have lobbied to have the park reopened to the sport. Friends of LOVE Park, an umbrella group, has proposed a compromise solution under which skateboarding would be allowed only after lunch-hour on weekdays and a fund would be created to pay for repairs and monitoring.
"This would go a tremendous way toward the upkeep and staffing of the park," said Scott Kip of the Skateboard Advocacy Network, which has pushed for the compromise solution.
But Philadelphia Managing Director Philip R. Goldsmith, who has met repeatedly with skateboard advocates about the park issue, said talks had been terminated because the two sides could not reach a solution. Goldsmith said the activists had not found a solution to the problem of skateboarding disturbing other park activities.
"Skateboarding and people enjoying this space, I think, have become incompatible," Goldsmith said.
At a press conference in the park yesterday, DC Shoes president Ken Block was joined by Philadelphia Controller Jonathan Saidel, former City Planning Commission leader Edmund Bacon, and a plethora of youthful skateboarders.
"Its a donation that would allow young people to use a park that has been underused for 30 years," said Saidel, who sported a Love Park t-shirt.