Volunteer stewards are a great way of sharing light maintenance requirements between Parks and the local skaters. Skaters will habitually kick debris away from the area they want to skate, so it’s a small step to formalize this activity through the Parks Department’s volunteer program and include regular park clean ups. Formal clean-up events will result in a cleaner park and help define for local skaters the tolerance for making a mess. The benefits of having a formal volunteer agreement with the Parks Department is that skaters are officially recognized as community contributors, and this can have lasting positive impact on the core group’s legitimacy.
If your local Parks Department isn’t able or willing to support a volunteer program, there are still plenty of ways to encourage good stewardship.
One concern surrounding skateparks is that when there is a maintenance issue at the facility, skaters won’t know who to talk to about it. For example, if some graffiti appears somewhere in the park, the skaters may assume that the Parks Department is aware of it and will clean it up if it’s important to them. (Most skaters are ambivalent about graffiti since it usually won’t have any impact on the skatepark’s function.) Even if skaters would like to bring an issue to the city’s attention, they won’t know who to call. A stewardship program will allow skaters to communicate directly with Parks staff on a regular basis.
Volunteer stewards can use their hours as evidence of community support for the facility on grant applications, and also help depict a community-supported facility for the local youth.
Sample Maintenance Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
Smallville Skatepark Association
The Smallville Skatepark Association (SSA) was formed in 2013 by a group of adult and youth skateboarders, bikers, their parents and other interested members of the Smallville community. The primary goal of the SSA is to improve Smallville’s facilities for skateboarding and other action wheel sports (BMX biking, in-line skating, scootering) by raising funds for constructing and maintaining a new state-of-the-art skatepark in Smallville.
The SSA Board of Directors includes skateboarding adults, youth skateboarders, BMX bikers and parents of athletes. Members of the SSA include sports participants from Smallville and nearby unincorporated areas.
The current SSA Board of Directors includes:
President: Clark Kent, Smallville
Vice-president: Lois Lane, Smallville
Treasurer: Lex Luthor, Super County
Secretary: Dr. Doom, Smallville
The SSA has been active since its inception in cleaning the existing skatepark, including graffiti removal, litter cleanup, and clearing out debris from the skating areas. The SSA has conducted thorough cleaning and light landscaping beautification seasonally. The SSA also provides continuous monitoring of maintenance and cleanup needs.
Smallville “Together We Can”
The SSA is a project of Smallville’s “Together We Can, Inc. (STWC),” a private, nonprofit corporation dedicated to promoting a safe and healthy environment for all Smallville’s residents.
STWC, acting through the Smallville Skatepark Association agrees to assist the Town of Smallville in the maintenance of the Town’s skatepark facilities at Central Park Fields thereby creating a volunteer body such that reduced costs of maintenance are to be incurred by the Town of Smallville.
It is to be accomplished set forth by the following:
Maintain the Smallville Skatepark by keeping the site clean, placing trash in the receptacles provided by the town and expeditiously removing any graffiti that appears with solvent(s) or equivalent.
Monitor emerging skatepark concerns, including suggesting maintenance to the cosmetic and structural elements of the park, as needed.
Establish an Oversight Committee to ensure that the cleaning and maintenance responsibilities of the SSA are carried out on a regular basis and timely fashion in perpetuity. The Oversight Committee consists of at least one member of the SSA Board of Directors and 3 members of the SSA who are responsible for establishing a rotating schedule for overseeing cleaning and maintenance at the skatepark. The Oversight Committee currently consists of (the following individuals, with contact information). These members are responsible for frequent checks of the existing park and the new park once built.