On May 8, 2002 the Fairmont Park Commission will meet to decide the ultimate fate of Philadelphia’s famed Love Park. Scheduled for a 600,000 dollar face lift later this year, whether Love Park will remain skateable is still undecided.
Current redesign and upgrade plans of the concrete paradise eliminate skateboarding. Most of the concrete and ledges, would be replaced with patches of grass, planters, and non-skateable wooden benches.
Although Love Park has international recognition among skateboarders, the fight for Love needs to be at the grass roots level. Skateboarders in the Philly area need to register to vote, show up to city planning and Fairmont Parks Commision meetings, and take part in their future.
There are a couple solutions to Love’s fate. The first being to completely redesign the plaza with the grass, trees, and such”leaving it unskateable and giving the skateboarders a site away from Love and the Center City area to shred on. That’s hard to swallow because every skateboarder familiar with the plaza’s seemingly endless ledges has planned or is planning to make a pilgrimage to the historic site.
The second solution is to accomodate all visitors to Love Park. Meaning, make the park user-friendly for the afternoon lunchers, tourists visiting” The City Of Brotherly Love,” and skateboarders alike. Put in the grass and trees and maybe more folks would be inclined to hang out in the park and chill watching skaters like Kerry Getz, Josh Kalis, and Stevie Williams shred the place up.
What can be done in this situation?
It’d be nice if the city of Philadelphia, “The City Of Brotherly Love,” hooked a brother (or sister) up with a place to skate. Before even considering the fate of Love, Philly should’ve utilized the revenue that filtered in from last year’s successful X-Games that took place in the famous location and built a facility for skateboarders. They’ve made Love Park what it is today. Hell, Philadelphia would probably see less tourism if it wasn’t for the concrete plaza.
If you live in Philly and you skateboard at Love Park, the best thing for you to do is to show up at the May 8 meeting of the Fairmont Parks Commision and show your support. Better yet, show up to the protest being held at the plaza on Sunday May 5 – 6.
As of April 25, 2002 Love Park will be under contruction including a temporary fence surrounding the location. It doesn’t mean the fight has ended. If you’d like to voice your opinion about the destruction of Love Park simply e-mail Thomas.Doyle@phila.gov or Frank.Keel@phila.gov.
The Philadelphia Inquirer has taken a pro-skateboarder position and has been running editorial about Love Park for some time now. To take a look at its most recent articles check out phillynews.com and run a search for Love Park.
P.S. It won’t help the cause for saving Love Park if you send negative, or threatning e-mails. This includes sending viruses to Thomas Doyle (a skateboard supporter) or Frank Keel (Philly Mayoral representative).