Friday, June 8, 2007

The Kroc Community Center at the Fairgrounds

I recently met the director of the Kroc center that is run by the Salvation Army. The Kroc center was started by a grant awarded by the Kroc Foundation. The Kroc foundation was founded by Joan Kroc, the widow of the deceased Ray Kroc. Mr. Kroc stared McDonalds. Anyhow, the Kroc foundation has awarded a $25 million dollar challenge grant to the Salvation Army. This means the Salvation army has to come up with the another $25 million before the Kroc foundation releases their $25 million to the Memphs Kroc Center. They are getting pretty close to raising it.

They are planning on building a huge youth community center/sports complex so one would naturally assume that the plans would include a skatepark considering these impressive statistics regarding skating:

• 100 = number of skateparks within a 70 mile radius of San Francisco, considering the bay population that means your likely to find a skatepark every 73000 people. For Shelby coutny you'll find a skatepark every 450,000 people and for the city of Memphis you'll 1 skatepark for every 900,000 people

• 20%= the percentage of youth that currently skate.

• 170,000 = number of youth in the City Memphis so.....let's say in Memphis the percentage of youth that skate is much lower , like 5%. That's still 8500 skaters for one skatepark and it's in Collierville. The demand is there. And the % of skaters would dramatically increase as the number of skateparks became available.

• 3 out of the top 5 best cities for relocating families host the 3 largest skateparks in the U.S. (Louisville #1, San Jose #3 , Denver # 5, Lo Primacy research 2006)

• 2 out of the top 25 fittest cities also have the largest skate parks in the U.S.A ( ( # 6 Denver and #18 Louisville, Mens Fitness survey (2007)

• 2 out of the top 10 safest cities also host the largest skateparks ( San Jose #1, Denver # 8, 2007 Morgan Quitno survey) Memphis is 3rd most dangerous.

• The #1 fittest city , Albuquerque, boasts 4 skateparks with a $7.5 million proposed extreme park- being promoted by the cities Mayor.

However, if your staff and your advisory board and your colleagues don't skate or their kids don't skate then it will seem that skating is not very relavant or necessary to build at a youth center. I don't blame them for not including it, in fact as most skaters know there are a lot of negative perception associated with skating and the skatepark. We know it doesn't have to be that way.

Our part....

It's up to us to let them know that as the statistics above suggest that skating and having a skatepark is a very desirable activity and facility among our culture and it's an activity that natually promotes cross-cultural friendships and communities. The director, Rev. Stephen Carpenter, seemed very open to suggestions. This is a great opportunity to be a voice that can make a difference in what gets included in their plans. If they don't hear your voice then the center will be catering to the squeakiest wheel which is likely the parents of the kids involved in the more traditional sports. We know skateparks are the most used facilities but do they?

Write a letter:

I suggest write a personal letter to the director and help educate them as to all the benefits and needs of having a skatepark;

Send the letter to :

The Salvation Army
Attn: Rev. Stephen Carpenter
696 Jackson Avenue
Memphis, TN 38105

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