The Letter: (identity withheld)

Hello—I thought you might be interested in this twist on a skatepark story. [We] the national nonprofit organization known for uniting sponsors and community partners to build safe playgrounds across the US, is introducing a new skatepark program this month (we plan to 'launch' it officially early next year once we get a few builds under our belts). [We] will mobilize youth, community leaders and sponsors to create quality skateparks nationwide. In our planning, we've consulted a number of people in action sports, and have received a lot of help, particularly from the folks at Woodward Academy. Each park will be designed in part by local skaters, even. We actually have a design day long before the one-day builds to get local skaters to tell us what they want in the park and what they DON'T want.

The parks are built in one day by local volunteers and skaters—and once they're up, they're open to the public that afternoon. Anyway, we're introducing the program this month with two builds in NY. We have a few more builds coming up in October and November, in Boston, Atlanta, and Baton Rouge. We've already had two preliminary builds in San Antonio and Norwich, NY and the reception has been great. Community partners are telling us that they have at least 40-50 skaters at the parks each day. So far, sponsor reaction has been great, too, with Snapple, American Eagle and Home Depot jumping in immediately. In fact, American Eagle is creating a whole new initiative around the program.

We'd love it if someone there could come out to one of our upcoming builds to see our one-day skatepark build or cover our introduction on Real Skate. I have all the usual stuff, fact sheets, media releases and advisories but thought I'd see if you were interested before I cluttered your inbox with them all. Of course we'll have pictures from the builds and I'd be happy to send some on to you. Let me know what you think and I'll get our stuff to you right away. I can be reached at the office until this evening or on my cell at all times. I'll be in NY for the build tomorrow and Friday, but again, you can always reach me on my cell. I look forward to hearing from you.

My Reply:

Hello, I'm sorry but we don't support playground equipment builders. This is not exactly a new twist, there are several playground people infiltrating the skateboard market. I don't quite get the non-profit approach though, and that isn't new either. We feel your business plan detracts from our nonprofit already in place (SPAUSA) who are working very hard to get cities to build real parks, permanent cement parks that they and real skaters fight so hard to get, built by real skatepark designers and real skatepark builders. To me a "park" that can be assembled in a day is a toy, not a skatepark.

I hope you stop interfering with the real skatepark industry by undercutting. You are making it harder for our industry if you do in fact convince cities to let you "build." The city can get off cheap, and say to skaters there you go, there's your skatepark, but the skaters will be screwed. I'm sure you know this already. Sorry —Clarkie



Real Skate Copyright © 1999-2003 by Clarkie, Santa Cruz, CA. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced by any means; electronic, mechanical, photocopy, or otherwise without the prior written permission of the copyright owner, photographers, writers, or artists named herein. Trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners. (What this means is, Please Don't Steal!).