1. Indianapolis should have more free, public skateable terrain inside its city limits.
2. There should be a group of skatepark users that could be connected with the city officials in charge of
making decisions to assure that any decisions regarding skateable venues are made with the users interest in mind. This will avoid problems like the pictures below.
3. To make sure that the need for skateable terrain is known. We plan to do this by sharing usage data and other information.
4. We would like to be a resource to change the idea of skateparks. There are many skatepark options of all shapes and sizes. It would be our responsibility to share these options with the appropriate figures.
5. In the past skateparks have had a negative view, they are often looked at as places for vandalism and other negligent activities. We would like to use our group to reverse that stereotype by showing the city users of the skatepark can grow up to be contributing members of society, and will make honorable mention of the skatepark as a place where they became who they are today.
6. Most importantly we would like to establish ourselves in Indianapolis as a resource for any part of the city trying enhance their property with skateable terrain.
This group of skatepark users would most importantly be a resource for the city to assure that the skateparks being built are appealing to the users. This grew into advocating for more parks and eventually our first project presented itself. The skatepark advocates were formed and connections were made with King Park Neighborhood Association.
Our first project was for a large skatepark inside King Park neighborhood. We had started the planning process and had multiple events to begin raising money. The project fell through because of some environmental issues and the money was put aside for our next project whatever that would be. In July of 2014 Indianapolis brought an architect to help develop some ideas for skateparks in Indianapolis. This connected our group with Michael Kaufman and the Indianapolis Parks Foundation.
With this new momentum the group was reformed with more members. We decided to develop a group of park users as well as community members to form out “core” group. This group would represent the entire population of park users in Indianapolis. We would use our organization as a vehicle to communicate to the skatepark users when their support is needed.
One of the first accomplishments of the advocates, which came as a great fortune to the group and pretty much fell into our laps, was a partnership with the Indianapolis Parks Foundation. Before the partnership it was very difficult to make connections with groups interested in building skateparks and even more importantly to be taken seriously. With the Partnership of the foundation we have gained a credibility that was unachievable before. We have recently been able to finish our first project with the help of the Parks Foundation.
In August of 2015 we had a meeting with Marian University’s Dean Peterson and the foundation’s Michael Kaufman about the future of skateparks in Indianapolis. We met at the existing skatepark in Lake Sullivan Sports Complex. We asked the attendees if there was a possibility for the park users came in and did some renovations to the aging park. It should be noted that a few of the park users have skatepark construction backgrounds and related fields. This began a discussion about timeframes and money. We came up with an agreement that if we could keep the park closing under a week, complete the work for under $5000, and give the park a fresh coat of paint we would be able to complete the project. The Central Indianapolis Community Foundation (CICF) had made a very generous $5000 donation to this endeavor.
One of the skatepark advocates have also created his own skatepark construction company. Based in Bloomington, Indiana, Hunger Skateparks is a skatepark construction company owned by a skateboarder. Bart Smith has skateboarded and rode a bicycle on whatever terrain is available for over 3 decades and has worked on over 300 skateparks. His knowledge of skatepark construction and design is extensive. This is a very important resource for the advocates and Indianapolis.
During the planning process the IMA offered to donate a very generous $2000 to pay for a mural to cover the graffiti in the skatepark. This allowed Hunger and the advocates to add an additional feature to the renovations. This also allowed for collaboration with local high school students that do not regularly attend the skatepark.
To make a long story short Bart (the owner of Hunger Skateparks) came to Indianapolis on Sunday October 25th. We began the welding and preparation for anything we could before the official closing of the park on Monday, October 26th. By the evening of October 30th, the demo work had been completed, the forms had been built, two trucks had delivered concrete, it had rained and almost snowed, and the park had been almost completely painted with a new mural designed in collaboration with local artists and skatepark users.
On October 31st 2015 the skatepark was reopened and there was a large event planned for the day. The Advocates had approached local businesses as well as larger skateboard companies and explained what was happening. The advocates were able to assemble a large amount of products and gift cards to give out to the attendees of the event. Over 200 people showed their support by coming to the event. There was a costume contest, a pumpkin jump contest, a best trick contest, and many other events. Overall the project and the event was a great success and built a large amount of momentum for the group.
The most astonishing thing is that since the park renovations have been completed there has been a surge of park activity. Some weekdays there have been reported up to one hundred users of the park at one time. There has also been an astonishing decrease in vandalism and trash at the park. A few times users have been observed picking up others trash. Hopefully this project and others will lead to an increase in ownership and a community of skateboarders that will advocate for a positive future in Indianapolis.
The advocates have many future plans. For the next few years we have isolated our focus to a few specific projcets. The Lake Sullivan Sports Complex will always be the first skatepark in Indianapolis. We would like to continue to renovate our first park whenever we can. We have a new idea in the work for the summer of 2016. We plan on adding a bowl that would appeal to beginner park users as well an updating a few street style features. We plan on incorporating $30,000 into the park this summer, with plans to continue every summer for the future. To raise funds we are working on a plan with the parks department and the foundation to lease out advertising space on the fencing surround the park. This ad space would be viewable from the interstate as well as to attendees for the large bike events at Marian.
This April we would like to open a discussion with park users about the status of the lights as well as the general approval of proposed ideas. The lights are very dim and are often times burnt out. This creates unsafe conditions. The advocates believe that the dim lighting prevents the avid park users to visit the park and instead allows people that do not respect the grounds to come and vandalize or participate in other not park related activities.
Additionally we would like to focus our efforts at designs and fundraising for two additional skateparks in our city. One would be at Stout Field Elementary and the city’s Southwest side and Grassy Creek Park on the city’s East side. We are going to begin polling the area and coming up with a design that would appeal to the users of that area, as well as how they will fit into our entire city plan.
While we are working on these projects we will continue to work on building relationships with the city and community partners to become the resource for anything skateboarding and skatepark related. This process has already begun and we are very excited with every new connection made to any group that wants to help the skatepark network in Indianapoils.
Our long time goal would include an entire network of skateparks throughout Indianapolis that are connected by greenway trails. This would increase accessibility for the youth of Indianapolis as well as users without motor vehicles. Our plan would make sure that every area of the city is equipped with rideable terrain that appeals to the two major styles of skateparks, street style and transition skateboarding. There are many option to make both coexist together.
Currently we have a few projects developing that could develop into indoor skatepark facilities in Indianapolis. The Midwest has very harsh winters and summers . With an indoor facility we would be able to create after school, weekend, and summer programs to mentor youths in Indianapolis. These indoor facilities could also become community centers where our network of skatepark users could grow and develop to further spread the vision the advocates. Skateparks attract a large diversity of youths and adults. It is a great way to engage in physical, social, and creative activities. We hope that our efforts will not only inspire advocacy for skateparks in Indianapolis but create ownership for the entire city of Indianapolis and promote advocacy in all aspects of the city’s development.
"The Indianapolis Skatepark Advocates seek to educate and engage the city on the health and community benefits of skateboarding across all age demographics, and advocate for park and city elements that allow skateboarding to safely activate and beautify public space in creative and innovative ways."
In 2011 a group of people came together to form the Indianapolis Skatepark Advocates.
We assembled with a few common beliefs.