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In the News Index

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Date: July 1, 2005
Byline: Sam J Lin

Designers reveal plans for skate park

Planners said the park is intended as a "gateway to the waterfront," and not just for skateboards.

The final design for a new skate park near the Philadelphia Museum of Art was made public yesterday after a design process that solicited input from skateboarders and city residents.

The design combines elements from two preliminary plans previously considered for the park, to be built along the Schuylkill.

The Schuylkill River Skatepark Project is unique, designers said, because it incorporates elements for skateboarders as well as non-skateboarders.

"It really represents a new approach to skateboard parks," said Brian Nugent, a skateboarder who helped as a design consultant and community outreach director on the project.

Nugent said that the park was designed to serve as a "gateway to the waterfront."

"The biggest thing about it is it's a unique urban design," said architect Anthony Bracali, who led the design team. "We're not copying the terrain of any skating surfaces or locations that have been made anywhere."

The design team held open-house meetings with skateboarders and community members in January. Two designs were drafted.

The final design incorporates elements from both. The plan includes long skate paths with ramps, blocks and walls.

Nearby, a prominent terraced area would look down at a sculptured stage area with skateboarding elements.

"This design captures my childhood dreams of what a skate park should be," said Josh Nims, executive director of Franklin's Paine Skatepark Fund.

The nonprofit organization advocates and raises money for the construction of public skate parks in Philadelphia and will look for sponsorship to fund the Schuylkill River Skatepark.

For those who don't skateboard, a curving path around the park would lead to a lookout point at the top of a natural hill in the park. The raised area would allow for views of the Schuylkill and the Art Museum.

"We're creating a very green space, not just a rectangular block of concrete," Bracali said. "We want people to see that this is not what people imagine a skate park should look like."

Nugent said the planners were inspired by, but did not mimic, the design of LOVE Park, formally known as JFK Plaza and revered in skateboard circles.

Now that a final design has been chosen, along with a site, it will be easier to find a sponsor to raise the $5 million needed to build the skate park, Nims said.

Organizers hope to sign a deal with a corporate sponsor for the park by October and break ground by spring of 2006. homepage

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