Monday, January 21, 2008

Grass roots effort needed- help us

Alright, you read the previous post, it was ugly but sometimes the truth can be.

Start small
We are going to think small enough so that we can get a skate park in Memphis before the next group of skaters are onto college or moved away. Cindy Buchanan at Parks and Recreation suggested we start with something small but at the time we were determined to go big- which we still are but we want to engage the local community and demonstrate to the City that there is pent up demand for a skatepark.

Here is the plan:
Item 1. Solicit the support of our local neighborhood associations. This includes Vollintine
Evergreen Association, The Evergreen Historical Association and the Cooper Young Association. These organizations could help facilitate the fund raising since they have nonprofit status and the most vested interest. Hopefully one of these organizations will adopt our cause and be enthusiastic about partnering with us. This will determine our park location.

Item 2.Park location: This depends on item 1 above as well as the location being managed by City Parks and Recreation. This is critical for having a location that is insurable.

Item 3 Suggestions? You tell us where you want the park!

My suggestions
1. Evergreen- Williamson park behind Fresh Slices
2. Cooper Young- Peabody Park
3. Vollintine Evergreen- not sure- is there public parks space in the area?
4. Other areas??.....I want these parks to be accessible to inner city kids but ultimately it will be the skaters, who raise the funds, that will determine where the park will go.(excluding outlying areas)

Item 4: Size. This will be a small park anywhere from 5000-15000 sqft. These smaller parks cost around $50/sqft so we would be looking at raising $250K-500K. We can dramatically reduce price/sqft if we have a someone willing to donate supplies or reduce material prices. Zach the skate park designer has seen 40% reduction in the price in many case where local suppliers have donated materials.

Item 4: Neighborhood representative(s): At this point I am willing to make presentations to Associations but I would greatly appreciate your help in arranging a presentation with an association. We need complete buy-in from the community for this to be a success.

Item 5: Fundraising approach: We would like to get a interactive image map of a skatepark on the website where online donations will "virtually" build an image of the skatepark. If you like fooling around with webpages and have a better design for the website we are open to suggestions and help!

Thank you! It will take the entire community this fly! Please contact me and we can build this park together.


MRC-T said...

I think it would be incredibly cool to have a skate park in Memphis! Skateboarding is not a trend that is a flash in the pan, after all, as it has been popular since I was in school back in late 80s/early 90s, and if it gets people outside, it can't be a bad thing.

I'd like to see the park along the MS River, but somewhere in Midtown wouldn't be bad either. Also, what about Glenview Park? It's a decent sized park and it might help the neighborhood around there.


Aaron said...

Indeed it would be cool, we would love to see the skate park on Mud Island. But trends seem to pervasively elude local governments.

Glenview park looks like a nice place. Is there a neighborhood association in the surrounding area?
We have to have a strong buy-in from skaters and parents who are likely to frequent the park. They will be our strongest donor base since we will get zero funding from
Parks and Rec. They are good for the land and insurance-which is a lot.

Is this park a favorite among you and your friends?

I've never been there so I'll check it out.

Thanks for the suggestion.

MRC-T said...

It is in Orange Mound, and I know there are a lot of historic signs around there, so I am sure there is.

I found this link with a PDF describing an Orange Mound Development Corporation:

I only recently discovered the park, but an acquaintance mentioned that they had a cyclocross event there somewhat recently.

gatesofmemphis said...

Here's Glenview Park. I think Glenview has a strong neighborhood association and is both Cooper-Young and Orange Mound adjacent. Mayor Wharton lives nearby.

In Cooper-Young there's the Spanish-American War Park, across from Fairview Junior High. Very visible, very underused.

And also Cooper-Young adjacent, there's Rozelle-Annesdale Park.

Stacey Greenberg said...

yes glenview has a very active group. i can give you contact info.

what about somewhere near the broad avenue corridor? this is an area that is being rezoned and is supposed to be a big demonstration area for unified code, walkability, new urbanism, etc.

there's a lot of empty buildings and areas that could be reworked. it's adjacent to binghampton, leah's woods, and not far from evergreen, veca, etc.

i'm pretty sure belz/turley/some other usual suspect owns the large empty space just north of east parkway and autumn. this site would be right across from overton park. it might even encourage a pedestrian friendly entrance into the park.

it's my hood if this interests you. also my hubby is in touch with the broad avenue folks since he works over there.

as a side note, there used to be a very busy indoor skatepark in an old warehouse on broad. not sure what led to it's demise.

again, i think there's potential for a skatepark/roller derby tie in.

jccvi said...

I really like the idea of the Spanish War Park, especially since it's not being used for any particular purpose at present. Just watch out for knickerbocker-clad protesters chanting "Remember the Maine!"

Still, as much as I feel we need a constant reminder of the threat the Spaniard Menace poses even now, I think old TR would say 'bully' to the idea of training youths in feats of acrobatics and daring do.

Both a Broad Street location and the park and Central and East Parkway have great visibility, which might help in getting the bigger park later on.

Williamson Park could be ok if you used the south end of it. The neighborhood makes good use of the north end with dog play groups. The south end has a nice playground, but I've never see kids using it, though is apparently a great place to sit back with a couple of tall boys. I forget the name of the non-profit that faces Poplar right there, but I think they work some with teenagers. Perhaps you could work out a deal with then that would include use of their parking lot.

It's not really in Midtown, but C.W. Davis Park at Prescott and Spottswood is really close to the U of M and might have the space for a small skate park. This would be a good tie-in to the other development going on in that area.

kimc said...

I think it would be beneficial to your community skateboarders as well as out-of-towners (because there will be some) to have an easily accessible skatepark. I do not know much about the parks listed but I noticed the Mud Island area mentioned. This would be a very accessible location. You also want to consider high-crime vs low-crime areas. I know most cities tend to place their skateparks in "high-crime" areas because of the "schtick" of skateboarding. Hopefully, Memphis will consider the safety of its skateboarders as well as the people that will travel to skate your skatepark.

Aaron said...

Thanks guys,

I really appreciated all your suggestions.

Gates,Stacey, Mrc-t,Jccvi: I'll be meeting with some CY folks tomorrow and we will discuss those parks you mentioned. Hopefully they are parks that Parks and Rec manage. They sound like they all qualify in terms of being visible. As long as you who have children would take your kids there I am all for it. As to whether burb families come, they'll just have to wait for Mud Island.

Williamsen park will be explored as a second option to the CY parks.

Stacey: Broad sounds like a cool place but fundraising for that area may prove difficult. Thanks for the Glenview contact- I'll use it when the time comes. I'll also run the outdoor dirby rink idea by the CY people. That would be cool to get the Dirby girls in this effort.

Everyone: If you all have a chance to sign up for my newsletter that would be great! I'll be doing surveys and lengthy updates from time to time.

JCCVI- I was thinking of the South end , right next to the playground.

KIMC: Please review the entire website and you will see that our views are closely matched with yours.
In particular see my December 5th post where you can download a copy of our plans and operations.

Yes, modular parks are a cheap substitute for concrete and I will not support or promote any skate park project that uses anything but concrete. But they are still more then Memphis has right now.

We have been proactive regarding the Mud Island Project. The project was moving quite well and then we ran into bureaucracy. I am not faulting RDC for this slowness, it's just the reality of working with government without access to deep pockets. So bear with us please:)

Aaron said...

CY meeting has been delayed.

Naomi Van Tol said...

I really like Stacey's location suggestion. All of the green space between Sam Cooper and Autumn was owned by the City of Memphis. Unless that has changed recently, it seems like a perfect spot for a small skate park.