Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Date: June 18, 2004
Letters to the EditorFar too many risks to skate legally at LOVE Park Eileen Carpenter, Philadelphia
Let's suppose the city accepted the $1 million from DC Shoes and allowed skateboarding in LOVE Park ("Money can't buy LOVE Park," June 2). Would skaters or their parents have to sign releases of liability? Would identification be checked and skaters under 18 who did not have a parent present be excluded? Would the city insist on helmets and other protective equipment? Would city employees work as guards to supervise the activities? Would skaters have to prove adequate health, disability, and long-term care insurance?
Part of the attraction of skateboarding is that there is a bit of risk taking, of pushing the limits of one's ability, of risking falls on a granite or concrete surface. One 16-year-old with a serious head or neck injury presents far more than $1 million in liability.
Juries are willing to hold anyone fully responsible for the victim's actions other than the victim and his parents. There could be a large award to cover the very considerable lifetime expense of a disabling injury. It could require many millions of dollars to cover just the economic losses, even if there were a cap on noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Legal skateboarding in LOVE Park isn't going to happen.
Selling Philly to youth William J. Swety, Schwenksville
Philadelphia's ever-decreasing tax base, due to the continuing exodus of homeowners, is a problem that cannot be ignored much longer. The resurgence of efforts by various city groups and political voices to return skateboarding to LOVE Park to sell the idea that Philly is a cool place to live and play is a good move ("Money can't buy LOVE Park," June 2).
Building on that theme, I would suggest the following ideas: build a skateboarding area in Rittenhouse Square; restructure the Convention Center to accommodate an amateur, arena-football field; complete Penn's Landing by erecting a site for year-round X-games; convert the outer drives of the Ben Franklin Parkway into a world-class track for hot rod-races; dedicate the Kimmel Center's Perelman Theater to weekend rave concerts; and lower the drinking age to 18.
Such farsightedness eventually would establish Philadelphia as a mecca for the youth of the world and it would solve all the financial worries. The kids would spend millions.