Feature Article - February 2006
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Keep Your Skatepark on the Cutting Edge

Adding challenge and enhancing safety

By Jessica Royer Ocken

In recent years, cities and towns across the country have found a solution to getting a new group of kids involved in recreation activities—not to mention keeping skateboards and bikes off downtown buildings, out of local parking lots and away from the street. They build them a skatepark. The youth of the community (and likely the youth of several surrounding communities) are thrilled, and the town rejoices...until the day one of two things happens: The crowds thin as skaters lose interest and head off to other activities or the crowds become so overwhelming, as the facility's popularity grows, that soon the equipment hardly can be used (let alone maintained properly) because it is constantly being boarded, grinded, tricked and jumped over.

Whichever scenario you find yourself in (or whichever you'd like to avoid), your solution is the same: add some new challenge to your skatepark. This can be done in a variety of ways, all the while with a vigilant eye on enhancing safety at your facility. Of course there's no way to eliminate risk entirely (participants are flinging themselves into the air on boards attached to wheels, after all, and they do consider bruises and broken arms to be badges of honor), but with the right planning and some supplementary features, you can help keep avoidable injuries at bay.

First, consider the following ways to put some new snap into your skatepark setup.