It started with an online survey of Forest Park residents and skate park users. After all who would be the best source for what a skate park redesign would look like. What kind of equipment would they like? What styles of terrain would be best? More technical terms were thrown around, like “bowl,” “fun box” and “coffin.”
The survey resulted in a preliminary design from American Ramp to reconstruct the skate park at the Park District of Forest Park, a project subsidized partially by a grant and chosen because of the growing popularity of the skate park locally and skateboarding globally.
The survey, put together by American Ramp, received 46 responses over the course of about two weeks, and the majority of respondents were skateboarders at about the intermediate level, according to Brian Moore, a representative of American Ramp.
The concept, said Moore at the last park board meeting in January, is “a 100 percent community driven design.” The top vote for what people wanted is known as a street course area, which consists of stairs, handrails, benches, ledges with a blend of transition as well, which includes quarter and half pipes.
The entire project will run the park district $250,000, with a portion offset by a $25,000 grant. About $150,000 will be spent on equipment and $100,000 on the poured-in concrete.
The ramps are designed and engineered to look and feel like those at the X-games, with steel frames, tan ramps, and black enclosures, said Moore. He also said that skateboarding has grown in popularity not just in Forest Park. In fact, said Moore, skateboarding was supposed to be in the summer 2020 Olympics, but because of COVID-19, it got pushed to 2021.
“But this is the first time that our sport has been recognized as an actual sport and not a fad or a hobby,” said Moore. He added that the new design of the skate park “is more dynamic and offers just a lot more opportunity” than the old one.
Any tweaks to the project plan will be brought up at the February meeting, and park Executive Director Jackie Iovinelli said she doesn’t want to wait too long.
“What we’d like to do with the February board meeting is begin moving forward with the project. Because of the timing that we’re looking at, we don’t want it closed in the summertime, because it’s such a popular piece,” Iovinelli said.