Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Date: July 28, 2003
Byline: Scott Kip and Gregory Heller, Skateboard Advocacy Network
Letter: New skatepark will not replace LOVE ParkWe are pleased that the city is actively pursuing construction of a new skatepark ("Philadelphia sets sights on riverside skatepark," July 10). Skateboarding is one of the fastest-growing sports in the nation, with more than 12 million participants. Philadelphia needs new skateparks to accommodate the sport's growing number of participants.
Urban experts have said that cities friendly to skateboarding also will be seen as friendly to youth, attracting young professionals, college students and new residents. Other U.S. cities already are building skateparks in their centers. Philadelphia's new skatepark is desirable but will not replace the world renown gained by LOVE Park.
LOVE Park's organic design, stunning vista, symbolic resonance from Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture, central location and proximity to mass transportation contributed to its international reputation. LOVE Park 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, including the Independence Hall Association and Young Involved Philadelphia. Experts in the field, including Carnegie Mellon's Richard Florida, and celebrities such as Kevin Bacon, have spoken in favor of lifting the skating ban at LOVE Park. Every day more organizations and individuals appreciate and respect the importance of LOVE Park for Philadelphia's future; I hope the city will, too.