Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Date: July 26, 2003
Byline: Gregory Heller, Skateboard Advocacy Network
Letter: Reopen LOVE Park to the SkateboardersThe July 22 article "Skateboarders get room of their own" provides yet another example of suburban innovation versus Philadelphia stagnation.
Urban experts have shown that cities friendly to skateboarding will also be seen as friendly to youth. Other U.S. cities are already building skate parks in their centers. Philadelphia's suburbs are building them to accommodate a staggering popularity in the sport that originated in our world-famous skateboarding mecca, LOVE Park.
New skate parks are desirable, and I applaud the city Planning Commission as it moves forward on plans to build a skate park along the Schuylkill.
At the same time by reopening LOVE Park to skateboarding, we can regain our international reputation as a skateboarding capital. The park's organic design, stunning vista, symbolic resonance from Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture, central location, and proximity to mass transportation have contributed to its world renown. It became a center of a new type of skateboarding, an urban form utilizing architectural features as organic obstacles.
Recently, new allies have entered the coalition to support returning skateboarding to LOVE Park. Every day more people understand the significance of the park for Philadelphia's future. I hope city officials will, too.