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how to get a skatepark in your town
 

GAIN COUNCIL SUPPORT FOR YOUR SKATEPARK PROJECT

In order to get a new skatepark, chances are it is going to be built on public land owned by your local Council. For that you are going to need to gain their support and permission. It is unlikely that your local Council will say yes to your new skatepark right away.  

Gaining council support isn't necessarily going to be easy. Chances are it is going to take time, perseverance and commitment.

It is very possible that:

a - they know nothing about skateparks, or

b - they think a skatepark is a rectangle of tarmac with a couple of fibreglass ramps at either end.

do bear that in mind, you're going to need to educate them.


As you talk about the new skatepark, your audience may not have an accurate mental picture of what you’re talking about. When your vision is clearly defined, you will be able to communicate what is best for your community. Ambiguity will lead to confusion, and confusion will eat up valuable time and resources.

WHO WILL REPRESENT YOUR GROUP AT THIS COUNCIL MEETING?

One of your project group members will need to speak on your behalf. Choose a member who is the most confident speaker that is good with words. Hopefully someone who is charismatic, persuasive and most importantly, someone who will remain calm at all times, no matter what ridiculous things someone might say about skateparks.

EDUCATE YOUR COUNCIL ABOUT MODERN SKATEPARKS

Sadly our Councils often need convincing, or educating on the fact that a free to use skatepark is a good idea, so you're going to need to talk to them about it.  Chances are that your Council don't actually know that many local people want a skatepark.

Explain to them:

  • why skateparks are a good idea.
  • how one will benefit your community.
  • that there is a genuine need - and that you are willing to substantiate this by providing evidence (your petition for example).
  • how they are constructed.
  • how much they cost.
  • how long they last.
  • why they are fantastic value for money.
  • why a professional skatepark construction company must build it.
  • why it is essential the people who are going to use the new skatepark are heavily involved in the process and have a say in all decisions relating to it.
  • how a concrete skatepark, when constructed correctly, will need very little or no maintenance for decades.
  • how a skatepark will not require supervision.
  • how skateparks are statically safer than playing football or trampolining for example.



HOW TO INTRODUCE YOUR IDEA TO YOUR COUNCIL

If your item is on the agenda of the meeting, then you'll most likely be invited to speak at that point.  If your topic of discussion isn't added to the agenda of the meeting, then stand up in the public participation session at the start of the meeting and clearly state who you are, where you live, the group you represent (YourTown Skatepark Project), then tell them what you want to achieve, and explain how it will benefit your community.

Remember, be polite at all times, do not get angry if someone says something against your idea, don't say 'you're wrong', even if they are, just calmly explain the reality, and the facts that back this up.

It's unlikely that your local council are going to say yes to a new skatepark right away.

No does not mean no, it means ’not right now'.

Prepare answers the questions they may ask, provide information to back this up when required.


DON'T ASK FOR MONEY RIGHT AWAY


Do not ask for money at the start, concentrate on gaining your council's trust and support. Then focus on agreeing on a suitable site and getting their permission to create a new skatepark on the chosen site.

If they ask about money, point to all the community led skateparks in the country, and how they managed to get funding. You could then add:

'we are confident that over time the money can be raised, however we are not asking for you to pay for the project. That said, we hope that once we have proven local need for and support for a skatepark, that you will consider supporting the project, as you do for all sports and recreational activities in our town'.


You can approach your Council for money further down the line once you have gained their trust - and lots of awareness and support.

Be aware that It is unlikely that your council are going to be able to pay for the whole skatepark.


DON'T ASK YOUR COUNCIL TO BUILD YOU A SKATEPARK

It is important that you do not ask the Council to build you a skatepark. Instead, be very clear that you want to work WITH the Council to create this recreational facility together. They are asked to do things for people all the time and are comfortable telling people "no,". Explain that with your project you want to work in conjunction with the your community to meet this important recreational need.

Remember, your Council may not really know what a modern skatepark is or why it is a good idea.  Also, they probably don’t skate or ride, so you will need to manage and be involved the entire process to ensure you end up with the skatepark you want, designed correct .... and built correctly, so that it will last decades.

AVOID DISCUSSING SITES FOR YOUR NEW SKATEPARK EARLY ON

The location of the skatepark is the most controversial part of skatepark development. It is also a major factor in the long-term success and health of the facility. For that reason, it’s strongly recommended that you DO NOT discuss where the skatepark will go until after you have broad community awareness and support for the project. It is when you begin to discuss locations that the skatepark opponents will emerge and try to prevent or delay the project.

If your council ask you to name potential sites early on, try to not focus on specific sites, and stick to general responses such as 'there are a number of potential sites that we could consider'. If you are pressed on this matter, avoid naming one favoured site alone.

There is an exception to the above - if your town already has, for example, an old steel and fibre-glass skatepark that is in serious need of updating.

Chances are that this site is the best site in your town for a new skatepark. If it is, then it is okay to suggest this as your preferred site for your new park. As there is already a skatepark on the site, there is less likely to be opposition from non skatepark users living near by. However do be aware that residents that live nearby may have concerns about about a larger or more popular facility replacing the older one. Later on you will need to educate these residents too.


KEEP YOUR MESSAGE POSITIVE

As much as you can, keep your message positive and upbeat. Few people want to hear about what a crummy town you all live in and how much everyone hates skateboarders and BMX riders.

Instead, they want to hear about how your town is unique and loves skateboarders and is a terrific place to grow up! "but it would be much better if we had a skatepark!"


YOU ARE GOING TO HAVE TO ANSWER MANY QUESTIONS

Your council, and other people you talk to about the skatepark, may have questions about safety, location, liability, cost, or something else.

If you don't know the answer, simply tell them that you'll get back to them after you've looked into it. (Be sure to actually get back to them or you will damage your credibility.)

You will need to have rehearsed your answers to questions and statements like:

     
  • We don't have the money to support this project.
  • It's going to be noisy.
  • It is going to lead to a rise in anti-social behaviour.
  • This facility would only cater for a small minority of people in our community.
  • There is not a genuine need for a new skatepark.
  • It's going to be dangerous, what about safety?
  • Will it be supervised?
  • Who will maintain the new park once open?

Don't worry - we can provide you with answers to all of these questions.

YOU MAY BE ASKED TO INVESTIGATE ALL ASPECTS OF YOUR PROJECT

Your council are likely to ask you to investigate all aspects of the project, prove that there is a need, and prove that it is possible. They may ask you to find out more information, or prove that there is local support.  No problem. We can help with this.

WRITE A REPORT ON YOUR SKATEPARK PROJECT

One of our volunteers, an experienced skatepark advocate recalled 'once we'd approach our council and explained what we wanted to achieve, and answered all their initial questions, they were not convinced that there was a genuine local need for a new skatepark. They asked us to "do our homework", explore all aspects of the idea, and report back to them'.

Their project group did just that. Over the following months they created lots of local awareness and support, investigated all aspects of their idea, provided answers to all question that someone might have, and created a very comprehensive, well-written report and submitted this report to their local council at the Recreation Committee's next meeting, including giving a verbal summary of the report's findings. On reviewing this document, our volunteer's council decided to support the project

Creating such a document will really help you succeed in getting your Council's support. You can update it as you learn more or have more information. This document will quickly build up into a very impressive document, and when it is complete, you can present it to your Council.

If this report is done correctly, and contains all the necessary information, your Council will find it very hard to ignore your project, and they will be forced to provide a site for your new skatepark. Your Councillors may decide to vote on supporting the idea.

It will also prove invaluable later on in the process when you are applying for funding. Adding this report as a supporting document will significantly strengthen your application as it will show that you have done lots of hard work and thoroughly understand all aspects of your idea.

Your council are likely to ask you to investigate all aspects of the project, prove that there is a need, and prove that it is possible. They may ask you to find out more information, or prove that there is local support.  No problem. We can help with this.  


WHEN YOUR COUNCIL AGREE TO SUPPORT YOUR PROJECT

If your council decide to support your project, Your council will summarise with something like this'

'YourTown Council, pass a resolution to recommend that YourTown Skatepark Project group, working with YourTown Council, examine possible sites, investigate suppliers, designs and fundraising options - and report back with their findings'.

This will be documented in their official minutes (written notes on what discussed and decided upon at the meeting). This is very important because it is proof that your council support your project. It can then be referred to in press releases, when gaining further support and in fundraising efforts.

Once you have their support, you will need to work with them to investigate potential sites, and together decide on the most suitable one.

 

 


ARTICLES RELATED TO THIS SECTION

Start a Facebook page

Start a Petition for your Skatepark

Form a Skatepark Group

Have a Skatepark Group meeting

Write a Mission Statement

Contact a Skatepark Company for Designs of Parks they've built

Contact A Reputable Concrete Skatepark Company for some designs of parks they've built

Create Awareness & Support For Your Project

Introduce Your Project To Your Local Council

Gain Council Support For Your Skatepark Project

How are we going to raise the money for our skatepark?

 

 

  THE SKATEPARK FOUNDATION