This is a free, non-commercial resource for advocates and planners seeking information about public skateparks. If you’re working on a public skatepark project — or interested in starting one — you’re in the right place.
All public skateparks launch and finish with community engagement. From the first conversation all the way to the grand opening, and beyond, every public skatepark is made by and for the volunteers that are present and ready to get it done. For years after it opens, the park serves the community and is the place where powerful changes happen.
Practically all public skateparks we see today are the result of sustained, volunteer-led advocacy and fundraising campaigns. The Public Skatepark Development Guide is a resource for those volunteers. We know that your community has what it takes to produce a public skatepark, and we expect that after it’s built your community will enjoy the benefits of that facility for decades.
The material provided on this site is the collected advice and instruction provided by skatepark advocates from all types of community projects. This site, and its companion book, Public Skatepark Development Guide, were made possible with the support of The Skatepark Project (formerly known as the Tony Hawk Foundation).
Skatepark.org content is provided as a collection of articles detailing various aspects of skatepark function, development, and operations. Here’s what you’ll find.
Two Steps to Start a Skatepark
Two actions you can take right now to get your skatepark project underway.
Skatepark Development Overview
Considerations for your next skatepark project.
The Challenges Ahead
The broad strokes on your new skatepark advocacy mission.
The Skateboarding Problem
Why do communities need skateparks?
Troublemaker to Community Catalyst
The personal benefits of skatepark advocacy last a lifetime.
Many people enter into skatepark advocacy thinking things will run differently.
Who Are Skateboarders?
Knowing who skateboarders are is the first step in talking about skateparks.
Brief History of Skateparks
There are valuable lessons to be learned in the history of skateboarding and skateparks.
Community Concerns and the Skatepark
Your community has unique characteristics that will influence what kind of skatepark will best meet its needs. Some of the biggest community concerns relate in some way to skateboarding and the new skatepark.
Essential Skatepark Characteristics
How you talk about the new skatepark will reflect how you think about it.
Skatepark Service Area
How many people will the new skatepark directly serve? Find out here.
City Planning Overview
A quick look at how your community is organized by local decision-makers.
Youth and Local Transportation
How younger people get around town is a major consideration for where the skatepark goes.
Physical Barriers in the Built Environment
Obstacles in town can have a major impact on the skatepark’s attendance.
Types of Skateparks
The skatepark typology offers different skateparks for different needs.
Skatepark Adoption Model
Your formula for calculating how much total skatepark terrain your community needs.
Four Simple Rules
Effective skatepark advocacy is guided by four principles.
Maintaining Your Sanity
Advocacy is difficult, lonely, and can become an obsession. Use these techniques for keeping your balance.
Running an Organization
Tools, skills and resources you’ll find useful in your skatepark effort.
The Core Group
Your tightest core of advocates are the best of the best.
Getting local skaters involved is not as easy as it sounds.
City Council Meetings
Getting to your first City Council meeting is your first major act as a skatepark advocate.
Resolution Supporting the Skatepark
The goal of your City Council interaction is to earn their endorsement.
Skatepark Advisory Committee
Your working committee has members from different agencies all working toward a solution everyone can support.
Agency-led Skatepark Efforts
Skatepark projects orchestrated by governmental or civic agencies have special considerations.
Awareness and Support
No skatepark was ever created without a good show of local awareness and support.
Working with the Local Press
Tips and tricks for managing your press opportunities.
Direct Advocacy (“Reaching Your Community”)
Organizing your outreach program into achievable goals is the easiest way to raise awareness.
One of the first things groups usually do is build a Facebook page, but what can you do to maximize its impact?
A great way to reach a lot of people at once is through public events.
The key messages delivered by your group should be consistent, factual, and compelling.
All About Meetings
Poor communication holds many groups back. Learn what you can do to ensure your meeting time is used efficiently and effectively.
Public Voting Methods
Whenever there is an option available, the public is often asked to declare their preference. Knowing how these practices work can prepare your group for contested issues.
One of the most controversial aspects of skatepark development should be handled with care.
Military Base Locations
Military bases have special needs and constraints.
Meet the Opposition
Most projects have no shortage of opponents. Learn how to manage them and prevent their obstructions.
Common Issues and Answers
Throughout your advocacy you will hear the same questions and concerns over and over. Here are some sample responses that have shown to be effective.
BMX and Scooters
For many skaters, these secondary users are non-starters. Excluding these groups from consideration may do more harm than good.
THF Police Study
A 2009 study conducted by Tony Hawk Foundation explores law enforcement’s observations on skateparks.
Capital Improvements Overview
It is valuable to understand how parks are typically funded. The skatepark process mirrors that of other types of parks.
Learn how parks generate money for their departments and the hosting community.
How Much Do Skateparks Cost?
Before you can ask for any money, you should know how much you need.
Breaking down your total funding goal into smaller chunks will provide smaller, easier goals.
It can be difficult to discuss costs that seem uncomfortably large. Understanding the cost of other public facilities will help keep things in perspective.
Putting together a funding plan will help you organize a larger body of volunteers and events that meet achievable goals.
A collection of things you can do to increase awareness, raise a few bucks, and keep excitement high.
Using Concept Designs
A picture is worth a thousand words. Using skatepark concept illustrations can help whet your audience’s appetite.
Formal and Informal Agreements
Throughout the skatepark project you may want to “get it in writing.”
Nonprofits and Fiscal Sponsors
Learn how to keep your books in order legally and securely.
Protecting the Skatepark Funds
It’s everyone’s worst nightmare. Here’s what you can do to prevent your funds from disappearing.
Wrapping Up Fundraising
When all your work is done, you’ll need to close your accounts.
This is the last critical stage where all your hard work can be wasted. Protect yourself by being aware of the last and most-important risks.
Factors of Skatepark Design
There’s much more to skatepark design than meets the eye.
Design and Construction Process
The development process for design and construction is elaborate.
There is more than one way to build a skatepark.
You have several tools available to ensure your skatepark turns out perfect.
Danger of Community Designs
Save a few bucks by having local skaters design the park? Think again.
Hiring the Designer
How to hire your preferred skatepark designer.
Public Bid Process
Many capital projects must adhere to a public bid process. Learn what this is and how to make it work for you.
Request for Proposal
This is the tool you can use to invite companies to participate in your project.
Don’t let hidden specs prevent the most qualified companies from bidding on your project.
Most public skatepark designs are the result of a public-input process.
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.
See you at the skatepark!