When you buy a bicycle you can start riding it right away, but eventually it will get a flat tire. If you keep riding around on the flat, the tire gets ruined and the wheel gets bent. If you keep riding on the bent wheel, it will get so bad that the whole bike doesn’t work. Normal people just repair the tire when it goes flat.
Everything takes maintenance, and to neglect maintenance for your new purchase is a lot like riding around on a flat tire. Skateparks are no different, yet many communities work for years to build the skatepark only to walk away as soon as it opens.
Maintenance and operations, or M&O, are important considerations for your new skatepark. Through M&O you not only protect your investment but ensure that it is operating as successfully as possible.
Maintenance and operations includes everything from emptying the trash cans to skatepark policy. However, M&O can be broken up into smaller types groups:
• Trash and debris removal
• Graffiti removal
• Landscaping (plant care)
• Terrain inspections and repair
• Programming (skate classes)
• Events (demos)
• Skatepark policy (helmets, BMX)
This chapter covers these concerns separately. Many of the topics are related to others and it’s valuable to develop a holistic vision of your skating space.
To plan for a sustainable M&O regimen, it’s important to have a vision of what your community’s expectations are. Skaters, the broader public, and City administrators may all have different requirements of the facility. Taken together, the M&O goal should take shape.
Some common expectations from these groups are:
Skaters want a skatepark…
…that isn’t too crowded.
…with reasonable rules.
…where rules enforcement is consistent.
…designed to meet their growing interests and abilities.
…where non-skaters treat the place with respect.
The broader public wants a skatepark…
…that is wholesome.
…that is safe for younger kids to go to unescorted.
…that is attractive and clean.
City administrators want a skatepark…
…that is inexpensive to maintain.
…that is not controversial.
…that is popular and well-known.
Taken together the mental picture of a healthy, sustainable skatepark emerges. Balancing all of these expectations is the challenge. Sometimes one group’s expectations conflict with another’s, and that is where problems emerge.
In this section we will look at some of the main considerations in skatepark M&O with an emphasis on finding compromises that meet each group’s expectations.
IN THIS SECTION:
Designing for Policy
Certain policies will require special design considerations. Learn what policies should be determined before design begins.
A general look at skatepark policy and compliance factors.
One of the most popular questions from park administrators: Should the skatepark require visitors to wear helmets?
BMX and Scooters
Allowing other types of park users introduces challenges, but there are also some terrific benefits. Included here is special information for BMX advocates.
Why “Skate At Your Own Risk” Matters
Your most important skatepark rule.
Well-intentioned rules can often to more harm than good.
Limited Hours of Operation
Reducing skatepark hours in response to non-skateboarding matters undermines the facility’s service.
Rules designed to direct skatepark traffic undermine other more important rules.
Our recommendation for your skatepark’s rules.
The broad strokes on what skaters expect from their skatepark and the operational challenges that can try their patience.
A quick look at skate classes and their positive impact on the skatepark.
Crime occurs wherever people congregate. Take a look at how you can reduce the opportunity for criminal activity at your skateboarding facility.
Supervision, Fees, and Waivers
There’s value in policies that reduce liability, but at what cost?
Inactivity or Crowding
Skateparks routinely under- and over-perform. Here are some factors that may increase or decrease usage at your park.
Skatepark noise is a hot topic during advocacy and site-selection, but what is the reality, and what can be done about it if it proves to be a problem?
Restroom availability is essential for public health and comfort but can also torpedo a developmental budget. What are your options?
Lights and Evening Use
Skateboarding in the early evening may or may not be desired. Here are the factors that contribute to evening skating at the park.
Activating the skatepark through special events is a terrific way of continuing support.
What kinds of routine maintenance demands can you expect of your new skatepark?
Trash and Litter
Factors that contribute to trash.
Tripping hazards can come in many shapes and sizes.
Enter into your graffiti tolerance policy knowing what to expect.
What to look for while inspecting your concrete skatepark.
How to establish a stewardship program. Includes a sample Maintenance MOU.
How to temporarily close your skatepark for maintenance purposes.
Our last words to you while you enjoy your success.