Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The cold wave of skaters

Here is the latest scoop on the Colorado Springs skate park which opened in January 09. It's a 40,000 sqft park built by Team Payne.

My mother-inlaw lives near the skate park and observes the day to day ongoings at the park.

She is amazed at the sheer number of skaters that are occupying the skate park in fact she wonders how anyone is able to skate at all. Colorado Springs is in the top 5 cities for the most number of skate parks ( they now have 5) with a population less then half of Memphis City. In fact this new park puts them in a tie with Albuquerque for the most number of skate parks.

This is a city that is already recreationally rich with mountain bike trails weaving in and out of the front range and multiple athletic fields as well as the Olympic training facility. So, you would think you would have less people skating since more activities would spread thin the number of participants. On the contrary, more activities just increase the number of people involved in phsyical activities.

Here's proof:

According to this year Men's Fitness "Fittest and Fattest cities" survey, Colorado Springs leadfrogged the previous years fittest city ( Albuquerque).
Go figure they get the award the same year they tie with this city for the most number of skate parks. We're improving we're only the 18th fattest city, a couple years back we hit #1.

Having personally lived through some cold Colorado Springs winters in the early 90's, I can say I am truly amazed at the dedication of the skaters. They are skating in daytime temperatures ranging from the 20-40's and maybe if they are lucky they get a 50 degree day thrown in there.

And so....

We have the demographic, we have the data streaming in from other cities that points to a large regional skate park being a low risk, low cost (relative to some current projects), high impact effort. A skate park on Mud Island will give folks in the new Beale Street Landing park something to look at from the other side and hey they may even want to have a ferry service available from the new landing.

In the meantime, we need our officials to get on some planes and take a look around and see what the rest of the country is doing. Or better yet perhaps the consultants carrying out the master-planning of Mud Island could join them for trip or two. They will see that a large competition skate park is a serious asset for a city rather than a hair brained 'pyramid scheme" with "empty" promises (please excuse the puns). Getting out of the Memphis bubble did wonders for Councilwoman Ware's realization that recycling is important.

For now we are grateful that we are getting a smaller skate park built by Memphis Parks. That's a strong start!

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