The City of Calgary ‘ramps’ up construction for three new skateparks
Construction is now underway on three community skateboard parks in support of an overall strategy that aims to make skateparks more accessible to Calgarians. The new skateparks are being built in the communities of Chinook Park, Kelvin Grove and Eagle Ridge (CKE); Southwood; and Huntington Hills. They are expected to be completed this fall.
“‘Wheeled sports’ such as skateboarding, bmx, in-line skating, and scooters are extremely popular with nearly 50,000 Calgarians actively participating in wheeled sports,” says Thomas Hansen, manager of Capital & Asset Management in Recreation. “These skateparks are intended to provide diverse, affordable and accessible recreation. They will provide fun opportunities to exercise, get active, build social connections and strengthen community ties.”
Each of the skateparks is unique in that they include community preferences and customized landscaping. During planning, The City worked with local residents and skatepark users to ensure feedback and local community needs were taken into consideration in each of the final designs. Ward 11 Councillor, Brian Pincott, agrees that one of the greatest aspects of skateboard parks is their ability to bring people together.
“These skateparks are really about the people in the neighbourhood,” says Councillor Pincott. “They are designed so that everyone, no matter their age or skill level, can participate close to home. The skateparks are another great neighbourhood amenity.”
Similar to playgrounds, skateparks add vibrancy to communities and provide opportunities for families to participate in unstructured recreation. For community residents and/or parents with young ones who participate in ‘wheeled sports’, a skatepark in close proximity provides convenience, as well as, peace of mind.
“My son Tyler and I are absolutely thrilled for not only our family, but for the skateboard community of Calgary,” says Sandi Gamvrelis, a mother and Southwood resident. “Local skateparks allow users to stay close to home and skateboard in a safe environment. They also provide youth a creative outlet for physical activity that conventional sports often do not.”
Gamvrelis adds that she is every excited for the completion of her new local skatepark and extends gratitude to the Southwood Community Association for their support of this initiative.
These skateparks are the first skateparks to be constructed in phase one. To meet the growing need for skateparks, The City is working on plans to construct more over the next few years as part of this first phase, which has an allocated total budget of $4 million.
It has been more than sixteen years since Calgary last saw concrete skatepark construction. Shaw Millennium Park, which debuted in 2000 as the world’s largest skatepark, quickly became a prized amenity among Calgary’s recreation assets. The City is now focusing on community-based skatepark development to broaden recreational offerings in ways that are accessible to all and encourage active daily living.