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In the News Index

Date: July 11, 2003
Byline: Matt Suchodolski

Letter: YIP Discussion Panel: LOVE Park

Having attended the panel discussion of the issue skateboarding at Love Park that was sponsored by the newly formed Skateboarders Advocacy Network (S.A.N.) on Wednesday (7-9-03) I came away with a sense that at some point the ban will be lifted; it is just a matter of when and how.

This forum was successful in that Edmund Bacon (planning fame) and Daniel Keating (construction/busines fame) both participated, each with their own honest assessments. Both of these men are to be commended.

While still in pursuit of lifting the ban I think that the young adults that are involved need to sharpen their focus on the attributes that have made LOVE Park a success for skateboarding and a failure for the Street Administration.

If I may bold enough to summarize with a short list of these attributes:

  • Simply put, skateboarding is an international sport. On another level it is also an individual form of self expression that can be considered an art form.

  • The activity of skateboarding is experiencing exponential growth and is common place in today's world.

  • LOVE Park is unique as a skatepark because it was not designed to be a Skatepark. From a skateboarding standpoint no other city in the world has yet to claim an architectural feature that even comes close to the experience of LOVE Park.

  • With this "happy accident" in mind there is no need to overhaul the terrain and any attempt to do so would water down the experience.

  • As far as the geography of Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs is concerned Love Park is centrally located and accessible by several routes of public transit.

  • Permitting skating at LOVE Park will reduce the so-called damage that center city business owners seem to be currently experiencing as a result of skaters searching for places to skate in center city.

  • Permitting skating at LOVE Park is a great accent at the base of the Ben Franklin parkway (a blend of Science and Art).

  • When the ban is lifted the physical elements that will need to be in place to ensure safety for onlookers or the "general public" will need to be carefully crafted. "Out of the box" design concepts will be a must. Perhaps this is where Mr. Keating's professional skills as a builder can be utilized to their highest and best use.

While this short list of seven attributes may appear to be overly simplified it does represent the core of what has made LOVE Park an international symbol. It is just a shame that its current status as an international symbol now parallels Tiananmen Square (Beijing, China) in that freedom and self expression have been squelched. homepage

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