Q: Why does Des Moines need a skatepark?           

  • A regional skatepark will provide a safe place for kids who aren’t attracted to traditional team sports to recreate and express themselves in an individual and athletic manner.   
  • A properly designed and designated skatepark will reduce damage and vandalism of both public and personal property.
  • A regional skatepark is an amenity that helps to make Des Moines a world-class city. The skatepark will attract youth, families and tourists.

Q: Is skateboarding a trend? Should we be investing money in something that may not remain popular?

  • In the last 10 years no sport had a larger increase in participation, ages 7 and older, than skateboarding. 5 out of every 10 teens owns a skateboard.
  • Competitions and contests have become popular and like organized sports (basketball, soccer, baseball), the athletes will travel great distances to participate. The sport continues to get increased exposure on both TV and video. Skateboarding will become an official Olympic sport in 2020!
  • There are more than 5,000 skateparks across America with the number increasing each year. 97% of communities with skateparks indicate the skatepark has been a benefit to the community. 89% of communities who built a skatepark have plans to build another.
  • Skateboarding is more popular in youth ages six to seventeen than baseball.

Q: Where will the skatepark be located?

  • The skatepark will be located in downtown Des Moines at the northern edge of the Principal Riverwalk, just east of Wells Fargo Arena.  

Q: What will the skatepark be like?

  • The skatepark will be one of the largest in the United States with 65,000 square feet of skate-able surface. The skatepark has been designed to be challenging for all levels of skaters – from beginning skaters to advanced and even professional skaters.   
  • California Skateparks, respected and renowned for skatepark design, has created the plans for the Lauridsen Skatepark.  
  • The skatepark will have the capacity to host both demonstrations and competitions.
  • The skatepark will include a two-tiered, 300 foot downhill snake-run; bowls and pools with depths from 3 to 9 feet; a lower plaza with a pedestrian walkway and shaded bench seating adjacent to the river.

Q: Who will use the skatepark?

  • People from near and far will utilize the skatepark. It will attract persons from Des Moines, the Midwest, and likely throughout the United States and beyond.  
  • Skaters are typically youth between 10 and 19 years of age.

Q: Will a skatepark bring increased drug use, crime and vandalism to the area?

  • Skateboarding, by its very nature, is an anti-drug because skaters need to be focused and alert, particularly in a skatepark setting, to maintain their balance and to perform their maneuvers and tricks.  
  • A survey of law enforcement officers in cities with skateparks showed that highly visible skateparks decreased bullying, drug use and property vandalism incidents.
  • A well-built and properly sited skatepark becomes a hive of creative, physical activity, a place where kids and adults who enjoy skateboarding come together and are focused on their sport in an inherently positive environment.

Q: How much will the skatepark cost?

  • The skatepark is projected to cost $3.5 million.    

Q: How will the size of the Lauridsen Skatepark compare with others in the Midwest?

  • At 65,000 square feet of skate-able surface, it will be the largest skatepark in the Midwest and one of the largest skateparks in America.

Q: Why does the skatepark require private donations? Other city parks are developed and funded without asking for private support.

  • Funding for parks and recreation has decreased in recent years and dollars are not available for new parks.  
  • A skatepark requires specialized design and construction that is not typical of parks in general.   

Q: What will the city’s role be in the Skatepark project? Will tax money be used?

  • Tax dollars will not be used to create the skatepark, only to maintain the park once it is operational.
  • The city has generously donated 2 acres of well-suited property along the north end of the Principal Riverwalk to become the Lauridsen Skatepark.  
  • The city has also agreed to maintain the skatepark once it is built and operational, just as it does for all city parks.  

Q: Will the city face increased liability by having a skatepark?

  • Skateparks are safer and less costly to insure than basketball courts, football fields and baseball fields. The legal risk for skateparks is lower than for playground equipment such as swings and slides. A study of 48 California skateparks showed that only two claims have been filed and neither won.  

Q: Will a skatepark result in more accidents and injuries to youth?

  • A skatepark is far safer than kids rolling through a busy street. A skatepark reduces injuries and accidents because the skaters are no longer on the streets or in parking lots where they compete with car traffic, often resulting in serious accidents. Statistically a basketball player is three times more likely to sustain a major injury than a skateboarder. Skateboarding ranks below all major sports including basketball, baseball, football, hockey and soccer in terms of number of hospital visits per participant. (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission).