Portland's skatepark is one of the city's most heavily used parks. It was a long time in the making, but the beloved park was already almost overgrown by our skate population upon it's opening. Now a group of us are all working towards getting that skatepark expanded, and momentum has been building.
After the land that Portland's old Marginal Way Skatepark was on sold, skateboarders worked to get a concrete park for our city, the largest city in the state. At that time I was still in the planning stages of opening Long's Board Shop but participated as much as I could as a local skater and resident. It was great to be there opening day and to see the fruits of the work everyone put in.
Skateparks can help bring a community together. People skating at different spots, at different times, suddenly start running into each other at the park. People have a safe space where they know they can always skate and progress. Those new to skateboarding can come and learn, meet others who have been doing it for longer, and get taught about the culture of this activity we love. Our shared passion for a piece of wood and 4 wheels brings together an incredibly diverse collection of people and provides a sense of belonging.
No skatepark can ever meet every skater's needs or wants. But every park you see represents an incredible amount of work by a large array of people. Prior to opening the shop i got to experience that 1st hand with the Biddeford Park and the Portland Park. Since opening the shop we have done what we can to help those groups working hard to get parks in their communities. We've been fortunate enough as a shop to make some contributions to those working hard to get parks in OOB, Bowdoinham, and MDI. A couple years ago now, we decided it was time to re-center focus for the much needed expansion of our own home park in Portland!
For the past 2 years a group of us, including a wide age range of skaters, parents, and a supportive Parks and Rec Department have been pushing the project slowly forward. As with anything taking this much time some of the faces have changed but the momentum continues and we have reached a very important time in the process: FUNDING.
After a few public meetings this last summer we have some concept designs to show while working towards raising money. Although the final design will continue to evolve throughout the process, this shows the scale of the project we are all working towards. Ultimately, the aim is for an approximately $300,000 expansion. The city is proposing $200,000 in it's budget (to be voted on next year) with $100,000 coming from other sources. This is the immediate work at hand - raising that goal of $100,000.
Currently a committee is forming to work on this. We are all going to need everyone in the skate community (and beyond) to come together. To keep informed about events/activities to this end please regularly check here on our site (or by stopping in the shop), the established FB page for Phase 2, and/or the city's Park & Rec page.