Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Beale Street Landing Urban Park: A case for building the demographic

The Beale Street Landing Urban park that has been proposed by the Riverfront Development corporation- one of our partners for the skatepark- was turned down by City Council yesterday as reported in the Commercial appeal today I've seen the plans for their proposed park and the it's impressive. I hope at somepoint in the future this park will get supported by the council. What the Landing first needs is the demographic to justify building it. The point of one of the council ladies is that the Landing could be a repeat of what has happened at the River Park on Mudd island. Essentially, the Riverpark is a place where out of towners go and visit and is very under-used by local Memphians. The good news is I am certain that the Skatepark that the RDC has adopted will start to bring in the type of demographic that would also appreciate and use the Beale Street Landing park. I think that once the RDC demonstrates that it has successfully repopulated the RiverPark with local Memphians and is also bringing in even more out of towners that their case for the Landing will be strengthened. When the skate park is built we will have a big draw for the downtown and people will start hanging out more at the Landing as they can watch skaters skating just across the river at the River park. Even more ideally, a bridge going from the Landing to the Skatepark would make a great combination and synergy between the two locales. Personally, I would like to see continued efforts to get the greenline off the ground so that people could end their bicycle ride or jog either at the skatepark or at the Landing. Right now, the bikepath along the river is too short and dangerous for kids as bikers go streaking by. If you are wondering exactly what type of Greenline is being proposed check out the Wolf River conservacy page

3 comments:

JCCVI said...
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JCCVI said...

In your discussion with the RDC has the issue of injury liability come up? Mud Island was a fairly common destination for my family growing up until they took away the playground and made it where you couldn't wade in the Riverwalk. On both of those attractions, the stated reason, at least from my parents and others, was that the City couldn't risk someone getting hurt or sick from the playground and riverwalk. This may have just been a rumor and other factors were at issue.

Aaron said...

Liability was a definite issue for the RDC in considering this project. This was point of discussion and I exhaustively addressed it in the proposal that we submitted to them.

The current approach of most parks departments is to treat a skatepark just like playground equipment and to place the skatepark under their existing policy. This has worked very well in California where there have been laws protecting parks facilities from lawsuits.

Disclaimers at the skatepark are another major deterrent for lawsuits. Most unsurpervised ( which are most parks these days) concrete parks have posted signs stating "skate at your own risk, skateboarding can be a hazardous sport and lead to potential fatal injury." The bottom line is the culture. It is a given, that among todays skaters that suing the city is like shooting your own foot.

Of course, I am certain that any person can find the willing lawyer to try and capitalize on the park. I am hoping that Memphis has evolved from this early 1980's mentality and realizes what gift this park will be. Of course as you know it only takes one narrow-sited person to spoil it. The bay area has nearly 100 skateparks as of present and no lawsuits have occured in the last 10 years. We'll see......