Good Designs Help Prevent Problems

skate_park.jpeg…no, this isn’t an ad for local architects and engineers, it is the sharing of some exciting news triggered by Kiffi’s comments on the Library Plaza.

I sure hope Zach Pruitt is out there and paying attention to this blog posting, ’cause I’m getting in way over my head on this subject.

During a recent conversation in the locker room at the gym, I innocently asked Zach “So, what’s up with the Skate Park design?”. He gave me a twenty minute response that included a bunch of technical terms, insurance industry standards and tales of visits to other regional skate parks. Here’s my best effort at an effective summary…

There is a youth-driven task force that has been meeting for five months to design a new skate park for Northfield. I guess the reason that the last skate park didn’t work was that it didn’t have user input into the design, the skaters didn’t like it, and it didn’t have insurance industry input into the design (thus requiring fencing and staffing), and the City didn’t like it either.

The proposed design has both user and insurer input and so will be fun and not require fencing and staffing. Apparently the skate park in Rochester is both a community asset and a regional draw. Don’t take my word for it, ask Zach.

Sounds like a perfect community and economic development addition to the new swimming pool site to me…


  1. Kiffi Summa said:

    Thanks for putting up the youth design for a new skateboard plaza/park. This has been a perfect example of a community [all kids] working together to achieve a desired outcome. there are kids in the skateboard /general youth community that feel just as badly as some adults do about the damage at the library Plaza.
    This design, you will notice, is a condensed version of the elements you would find in a broader actual streetscape. I think it is really intriguing to just look at ; I don’t plan to be skating it!
    This project really needs serious consideration and support from the general community; don’t let some person’s bad behavior ruin all this good work by a group.
    This has been an impressive co-operative project; please help it become a reality. Remember…we took on a huge excess tax levy because it was “for the kids”. This is for the kids, too.

    December 8, 2006
  2. Nick said:

    Hey guys.
    I had no idea that a skate park was in the works. I had an idea to have a skater art show at the gallery, and use the idea to benefit something. I would love to work with someone on this and promote a new skate park.

    -Nick Sinclair
    Grezzo gallery

    December 8, 2006
  3. Kiffi Summa said:

    Anyone interested in supporting the idea of a new skateboard plaza can contact josh Hinnenkamp, the adult director at the Key, or Joe McGowan, who is a highschool senior, who is on the Key Youth Board, and the person who has worked to put the Skateboard coalition together. Skateboard Coalition was meeting at 5 or 6pm at the Key, on Wednesdays. I’m not sure they are still meeting every week, but check it out…………

    December 8, 2006
  4. Nick said:


    December 9, 2006
  5. Josh Goettl said:

    who ever reads this should go to the park board meeting on Dec 12 at 7:00 pm cause we will have a better chance with it if we had the community involved.


    Josh G.

    December 9, 2006
  6. Holly Cairns said:

    Good idea Josh. We’ll be there just because you called us and asked us to go. And because we think it is a good idea.

    Bet you didn’t know I was a skater– well, short lived and not good. I was proud of my skateboard and as a second grader I was pretty daring. My mother hated my skateboard. I lost it down the gutter in Omaha– big huge gutters that used to worry my mom. It ate my skateboard! What do you think of that? Stupid gutter! Dumb hill! You probably already heard my story about that.

    Anyway, when I see skater kids riding around town on their skateboards I am envious. All the things they can do– lots of talented kids here in Northfield. Wow.

    Let’s go to that meeting and make a fun spot for skateboarders in our town. Good grief, I’m bugged by the many crabby people who want to shut skater kids out of the Northfield experience. What did they do as kids, anyway? I think TV.

    December 9, 2006
  7. Josh Goettl said:

    thank you guys who could make it to the meeting it ment alot to all of us


    josh G

    December 16, 2006
  8. Josh Goettl said:

    Hey Nick this is Josh Goettl and i was wondering what do you mean by the Skater Art Gallery???

    December 17, 2006
  9. Holly Cairns said:


    The kids did a Fabulous Job in their report to the park board. Wow!

    I might not be the best source on this since we didn’t find a seat and had to wait in the hall– but it seemed the kids researched other skate parks, did a Northfield location analysis, and applied for and received a 44,000 dollar grant. Am I right about the grant and the other facts?

    These kids are class acts. 🙂 Bravo.

    Now, to get the park in your desired location. I wonder if you’ll have to compromise about something. What about long term land use for the spot you wanted the park? Is anyone planning to use that space for something else (And then the park would be buried soon after it was built?)

    If we name your #1 location maybe some people will be against it and rise up to challenge you. BTW– I thought your #1 spot was already a place that had had lights, people, traffic, kids, and sound. You’d be less noisy and produce less traffic.

    Graffiti at the park? I think the key is to build something beautiful, well lit, and friendly. It seems to me that graffiti happens all over, but especially in places that seem to be neglected and undesired. The old skate park was exciting in its concept but the park was closed A LOT, had a chain fence and so it seemed like a prison… etc. It didn’t feel friendly but felt looked like a rat trap or something. Perfect for graffiti?

    Good luck with your struggles. Come to us for donations and we’ll look around for a few dollars.

    Griff, why can’t I find this thread in any other place but in my e-mails? Is it a part of your cloud tag and I just can’t find it?

    December 17, 2006

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