Skatepark Location in Question



If memory serves, the City Council appropriated $440,000 for a skatepark last year. (Or it might have been the year before?)


At any rate, last August, the city selected Glenview Park as the site for its first skatepark.

"We were trying to find a central location," Mike Flowers with park services said at the time. "Overton Park is full. We just can't cram any more in there. It would have been a great location, but it's full."

But it appears that some council members are wary of putting a skatepark in Glenview.

Last night, I was copied on an email from Skatelife Memphis founder Aaron Shafer to city council person Wanda Halbert, asking her to reconsider her position on the proposed Glenview skatepark.

Here, in part, are his comments:

Although skate parks are new to Memphis, skateboarders (Black, White, Asian and Hispanic) have been skating on Memphis' streets for many years. As I mentioned before, the three teenagers who skate on my backyard ramp from Central High are African American youth. This is no surprise, since as of 2004, skateboarding has become the third most popular activity among youth right now in the U.S. right behind football and basketball. ...

It is not only a white American sport. 20 years ago this was mostly true, but it has radically changed and moved into the urban culture. It is an activity that has been established all over the world. As of 2007, Afghanistan, war torn Afghanistan, has been teaching children how to skate. Prior to an Australian skater visiting in 2007, they had never skated before but have learned very quickly, love it and now an Olympic training skate park is being built for the children there. ( The activity is breaking age-old social boundaries between the poor and the privileged classes in Kabul. ...

Please also know that the foremost skateboarding organization, the Tony Hawk Foundation, has funded skate parks all over the world, including South Africa as well as the inner city of Los Angeles where the video I sent you was filmed. Skateboarding is quickly spreading because people like Tony and myself have experienced first-hand how this activity has kept us out of trouble growing up and are passionate about sharing it with youth knowing that it will do the same for them by providing them a intense workout and positive way for coping with the difficulties of growing up in less than ideal circumstances. Skating teaches kids focus and discipline needed for school and gives them a positive release, an escape from daily pressures. We all need this! The stats confirm our kids in their existing activities are not getting that release. As you know, 1/3 of them are obese.

I understand as well that Glenview is considered a historical park but I would like to let you know that a skate park is not any more disruptive to the land then the existing pool, baseball field, basketball court or community center that is already there. It will be a complement to the activities in place. Successful skate parks are located in parks where a full range of activities are available to the people in the immediate area. The type of proposed skate park does best where kids can walk to it from their houses. Glenview has this type of accessibility for small kids ...

For more, visit the Skatelife Memphis website. Also, the group will be building a halfpipe this Saturday at the Greenlaw Community Center.

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