How do skateparks get created?
Every skatepark starts with a conversation between two people. Through conversations like this a plan begins to emerge. The more they talk about it, the more realistic it becomes. One of these people is probably you.
As you know, you’ll be talking about the new skatepark a lot. By the grand opening, you will have had hundreds of conversations with dozens of people about the skatepark.
At first, however, you’ll be meeting with skaters, friends, family, and people at work or school. Through these conversations you’ll learn who seems interested and might want to get more involved.
When you feel like you have some people that can back you up, you’ll contact your local government, usually the City Council (but sometimes the Parks Commission), and introduce them to the project. They may not like the idea at first and have several reasons why it can’t be done, but don’t let that stop you. This is just the beginning.
As you continue to promote the skatepark project to your community and local government, the project will begin to take shape. Ideas about what kind of skatepark it should be, how large it should be, where it might go, and how it might relate to the community will become common. The question will quit being “if the skatepark is built” and start becoming “when the skatepark is built.”
Let’s look at the people in your community that will be connected to the skatepark project in some way.
Advocates and Supporters – Individuals that help build support for the skatepark in your community.
Public – Average citizens and residents in your community.
Community Groups – Local organizations and institutions.
Elected Officials – Individuals and commissions elected by your community to make strategic and policy decisions.
City Employees – People within the city that are hired to make critical project-based decisions.
Local Nonprofits – Fraternal groups (Kiwanis, Rotary, Altrusa, etc.), churches, and charitable nonprofits can be great sources of support and guidance.
Skatepark Builders – Specialist designers, architects, and builders that your community hires to create the facility.
Institutional Donors – Organizations that can provide financial backing or provide a critical service.
The skatepark’s pace and advancement will be determined by your group’s activities. How you interact with the people in these categories will have a dramatic impact on the skatepark project’s schedule, location, size, and quality.
Your group’s responsibility is to manage the pace and direction of the skatepark project. Volunteers and supporters move the whole thing forward. As the project leader, you (and your closest people) are steering the project. In the next lesson we’ll look at how you and your group are formed to make the A-Team of skatepark advocacy.