A safer city with less crime & property damage
A common myth surrounding skateparks is that they are a breeding ground for crime and other illicit activities.
On the contrary, providing designated spaces for positive activities is the best way to curb unlawful behavior among youth. The city of Long Beach, California discovered a significant reduction in crime after building their skatepark in 2008. Drug-related incidents dropped by 60.9%, violent crime dropped by 29.3% and overall incidents in the area decreased 22.8%. A Long Beach community leader states, “Young skaters roll into smooth concrete bowls and ramps that both parents and health officials see as a constructive and positive way to keep children away from drugs, gangs and crime.”
A skatepark also reduces damage to private property of homeowners, businesses and public spaces such as downtown plazas. Metal skateboard axles can destroy paint and chip concrete, causing thousands of dollars in damage every year. A well-designed skatepark draws skateboarders off the street and to the skatepark, ultimately decreasing property damage.
Positive economic impact
A skatepark brings new life to a city. When a skatepark opens, it draws persons from outlying communities to bring their kids to the skatepark – in this case to downtown Des Moines.
The creation of a downtown skatepark will also support the initiatives of the Capital Core strategies of Capital Crossroads: that a strong, growing region needs a healthy central city in order to thrive.
Other cities rave about the positive impact skateparks have had on their cities. The mayor of Carbondale, Colorado states: “The immediate response to our park was overwhelming. Both the youth of our town, and visitors alike bombarded our new park each and every day. This was a huge economic boost for our town. Never underestimate the draw that a skatepark will have in your city.”
Improved health and wellness for children and youth
Physical Health: Arguably the most important reason for participating in action sports is to enhance health and physical fitness.
Finding an activity that gets kids off the couch and keeps them in shape is vital for the youth of our nation. The U.S. Surgeon General has officially declared obesity as an epidemic, costing Americans an estimated $90 billion per year. Some 30 percent of schoolchildren are overweight – and youth today have a one-in-three chance of developing diabetes.
A recent study by Johns Hopkins reports that regularly skating, biking or skateboarding will increase chances of maintaining good health and a normal weight. Skateboarding can provide a cardio workout and provides more physical activity than an organized sport like baseball.
Accidents: Skateparks reduce the number of accidents which occur annually.
The majority of skateboarding injuries are falls due to surface irregularities on streets and collisions with motor vehicles or pedestrians. In 2012, thirty skateboarders lost their lives and all thirty deaths occurred on a roadway.
Mental Health: Skateboarding is a unique activity because it combines extreme physical exertion with precise muscle coordination and balance.
The complexity of performing tricks on a skateboard improves brain function at a fundamental level and stimulates new cell growth in the brain. It is also interesting to note that both hemispheres of the brain are equally stimulated when an activity involves balance.
Improved social skills and increased personal interactions
Today in America, children spend an average of 5.5 hours a day in front of some sort of a screen – television, computer, or handheld device.
Face-to-face communication with peers is decreasing. Skateparks are an engaging outdoor environment where youth interact with one another and build vital social and interpersonal skills. A recent study by the Journal of Adolescent Research explains that “skateparks are positive places, which encourage civic responsibility and social skills.”