As skateboarding gains speed and becomes more accepted throughout the United States, the number of skateparks has increased rapidly. Now that municipalities see that the sport is here to stay, many are stepping up to create a safe and legal place for skaters to perfect their moves.
While there is a very real issue of dwindling park budgets, there are a few cost-saving techniques to aid municipalities in need of quality skateparks.
First, it is imperative to have an experienced skatepark designer involved during the beginning stages of a project. There are many “skatepark” designers out there today, but the key is to do the research and select a reputable company:
- Handles all aspects of design and construction
- Is a licensed design firm so it is able to meet all municipalities’ rules and regulations
- Has skateparks “in the ground” that can provide evidence of longevity, design competency, and community integration.
It is important to note a skatepark should not be selected from a catalog; skating is a creative outlet, and a well-designed park will challenge the skater, offering new lines and approaches as the skater grows.
A properly designed skatepark not only affects the construction cost but also the final success of the park.
Ingredients For A Polished Project
Once a designer is on board, he or she can steer you clear of costly mistakes that can occur during each phase of the project.
One way to complete a skatepark on a limited budget is to phase it in; this offers the flexibility to keep the project momentum while fundraising and budget allocation continue.
Additionally, it allows the park to be designed in sections only once with phase one being budget-friendly and serving the needs of the local users. The skatepark can then be open and operational while the committee or municipality continues to fundraise for the additional phases.
This method also aids in fundraising: as the community, business owners, etc. see the success of the skatepark, they are more willing to donate toward future phases.
With the average cost of a skatepark around $35 per square foot, the inclusion of in-kind donations can really go a long way in getting the largest amount of square footage for the money.
By including construction items that are on hand for a municipality or donated for the project, the builder can then put those non-monetary funds back into the square footage of the park, ultimately, providing more park for the dollar!
The biggest misstep when it comes to design and construction usually originates from a lack of understanding about skatepark facilities. Since the end-user often is not the decision-maker creating the skatepark, it is imperative to know the user’s needs and wants.
The flow, terrain, and materials used directly affect the longevity, usage, and success of a skatepark. Very few non-skateboarders will be able to see the subtle—but necessary—nuances in skatepark design.
Remember, the goal is to create a community gathering place—a skatepark that grows with the user and stands the test of time. Just like any other planning project, skateparks deserve the time and consideration to create a quality facility that all will enjoy.
A skatepark is not a playground, and should not be selected piece by piece, but instead the design should be approached by considering the flow and “skate-ability” of the overall park.
The correct heights and depths of elements directly affect the skate-ability and usage of the park. A designer will take into consideration proper flow lines that allow the skatepark to operate at maximum capacity, without compromising safety or ride-ability.
For those who are unsure where to begin, there are many resources out there today. Becoming educated about the process and what it entails is the first step to success.
Pillar Design Studios, LLC is a licensed landscape-architecture firm that specializes in skatepark design and construction. For more information, contact Business Manager Nicole Licari Robertson at 888-880-5112 x 1, or Nicole@pillardesignstudios.com.