The new 2,000 sq foot addition to the City of Newport’s skatepark completed by Dreamland Skateparks was celebrated with a beautiful day, amazing riding, prizes, and food. The video in this post features Spencer Nebel, City Manager and Danielle Scott owner of Dreamland. I am thankful for their comments about the collaboration to support the new build.
The video also illustrates the synergy and desirable outcome for our park on a given day. I do not know if there are numbers for how often it’s used. Prior to the expansion, my own experience has revealed that both locals and tourists use the park. Since the expansion, my conversations with the park’s frequent flyers have said that use is up considerably. The influx of visitors to cities like Newport may support the argument for such investments. We are a tourist community. Some families may simply choose a city that has such assets over those that do not. And, communities that have such assets may increase the stay length compared to communities that do not have a variety of recreational activities to choose from.
In retrospect, the unification of energy to pull off the addition exemplifies what’s desirable when dedicating public funds to such infrastructure. I have not inquired about numbers to the City or Dreamland. I should do that. The data would be interesting to know. My casual conversations lead me to believe that the new addition is the result of donations, corporate sponsorship of sorts from Rogue, City funding and some old-school fundraising. There may have been grant money…
As a rider – both skating and biking – I can testify to using the park on a semi-regular basis. It’s one of my go to spots during lunch break. Google Maps says it’s .6 miles from my office cubicle. As a sit/stand office worker I make it a point to move my body at lunch. “Sitting is the new smoking.” Desk jockeys benefit from exercise more so than our cohorts who actually use their bodies for work.
To my surprise, the re-grand opening had a special turn of events for both me and my son. It Inspired him to begin skating. It was also an affirmation that building community infrastructure to support action sports such as skating has the benefit of encouraging new discoveries for athletes young and old.
On the way to the re grand opening I reminded Reed that our mission needed the inclusion of video documentation. On occasion, the documentary process gets a little tiresome for my handsome lad. I thought it fair to give him a disclaimer that I would be up to my usual antics. I mentioned that there was going be food, beverage, possible prizes and likely a few of his friends. Reed assured me that “None of his friends will be there.” “How can you be certain?”, I asked. He couldn’t articulate and became frustrated at my additional inquiries. “Is it just a gut feeling?”, I asked. “Yeah, Dad.”
Within minutes of arrival Reed asked to go play with a friend. It turned out, that friend, an inexperienced skater, encouraged him to ride. They practiced and watched the other skaters during their blitzkrieg on the fresh concrete. For the next two weeks, he asked that we ride, every day. Every day. I was so stoked! I had wrapped his little body in padding when he was 4 and he reluctantly gave it a shot. He never desired to ride again, however. I let it go. Not his thing, I thought. I ride a lot. But, over the years I’ve often carved out time to do that, without him. So, this was full circle for us. My hope is that the joy I experience from this hobby and sport might be something we can continue to share.
So, the question of weather or not there is justifiable ROI to the community, the non skateboarding community, is one that is in contention for some. How we equitably determine which shared assets are worth our investment? Our skateboard park, our pool, our various other parks, our roads, police, emergency services and so on. Not everyone agrees all of the time and such is politics, government and questions of subsidy.
Again, I don’t have specific number for the Newport park 2,000 sq. ft addition. If and when I get this data – I’ll post the update here. Estimates by the Tony Hawk Foundation suggest the “National Average Skatepark Cost per square foot: $22.10” These numbers and actual use numbers would certainly facilitate improved evaluation for this investment and future investments In our communities.
The Argument for Skate Parks
Public Skatepark Development Guide
Resource for advocates and planners seeking information about public skateparks. If you’re working on a public skatepark project.
Tony Hawk Foundation
The Tony Hawk Foundation fosters lasting improvements in society with an emphasis on supporting youth in low-income communities through skateboarding programs and the creation of skateparks.