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Feature Article - February 2009

Grind Into Action

Getting Your Skatepark Rolling

By Sue Marquette Poremba


"Involve the kids."

Ask anyone involved with building a skatepark, from the designers to those on city council, and the most important bit of advice they give is to include those who will be using the park from the very beginning of the park's conception.

When the community of Shelbyville, Tenn., began planning its park several years ago, the youth who would be using it were invited to help with the design.

"We thought we had exactly what the kids wanted," said Bryan Dial, assistant director of Shelbyville's parks and athletic leagues. "But the kids changed it completely."

Dial's experience is one echoed by others involved with park management, and it makes sense. By involving the youth (and sometimes the not-so-young skateboard enthusiasts) in the planning and design process, communities are better able to construct a facility that will get used. And that's the whole idea—to move skateboarding and in-line skating to an area that is made for the stunts and acrobatic moves.

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