“If your community doesn’t have a skatepark, it is one.”

When a city does not have a designated skatepark, skateboarders make use of any and all terrain in their community. The Des Moines Register reported on October 25, 2014 that the city had spent more than $32,000 to purchase and install metal brackets, known as skate stoppers, to be installed on the downtown Principal Riverwalk to limit skateboard damage.  

The Skatepark Cabinet believes that there is a better alternative: to create a world-class skatepark along the Principal Riverwalk where both skateboard enthusiasts and the public can enjoy and participate in this burgeoning sport.

Cities who have invested in public skateparks have discovered a win-win for their citizens: skateboarders have a safe place to pursue their passion, while law enforcement, business owners and community members no longer spend time, money and energy to deter youth from skating on their property.

Skateboarders are often misunderstood.

As one mother wrote, “My sweet but long-haired kids are subject to the continued supervision, tacit disapproval, and even harassment by police officers, business-owners, and ordinary people for their choice of sport. That is even though it is a sport exemplifying the values of sportsmanship, dedication, perseverance, and determination that we celebrate in other athletes. As a mother, I observe a sport practiced by dedicated and enthusiastic young people who should be admired, not scorned.”

When compared with traditional team-sports like football and baseball, skateboarding and action sports can still be perceived as being on the fringe of mainstream society. It is not surprising then, that skate parks are looked upon in a similar light and are often a low priority in a city’s planning efforts.

Des Moines has a thriving skateboarding community, yet there is no centrally located athletic facility (skatepark) to accommodate this growing constituency. The city has spent significant resources to ensure facilities are available for sports such as soccer, basketball, softball and baseball. Yet, the growing number of skateboarders do not have a centrally located facility for their sport.

Instead of viewing skateboarding as a negative problem that needs to be solved, forward-thinking communities such as Rochester (MN), Denver, Louisville and Milwaukee have added an important amenity to their cities by building world-class skateparks. They showcase athletes’ abilities, give youth a safe and challenging park in which to recreate and move skateboarders off the street. The skateparks have also decreased crime rates, increased tourism, and decreased damage to personal and public property.