If you read Ryan Jones’ column in the recent Penn Stater magazine, you are familiar with the idea that skateboarding and other types of wheeled activities grew in popularity during the pandemic. Families like Ryan’s found skateboarding to be a wholesome outdoor activity that everyone in the family could enjoy – either on their own or together. When our entire lives – work and school – were happening on a screen, there was something liberating about getting outside to take an easy ride or to work on
mastering a trick.
As life has slowly returned to something akin to normal, kids around State College have doubled-down on their love of skateboarding. Now, they are doing it together, forming a loose-knit community of like-minded enthusiasts of all different ages, genders and skill levels, and from all different socio-economic backgrounds.
But practicing their sport is incredibly difficult. There are zero free public parks to practice BMX biking, skateboarding, scootering or roller-skating in Centre County. Those who do skate put themselves at a high risk of accidents and injuries by practicing in the street or on the cracked-up basketball court at Sunset Park. We know that skateboarding and other similar pursuits build resilience as skaters perform a trick hundreds of times before landing it; this carries over into their life outside of skateboarding as well. Without a place to practice their sports, skateboarders don’t have access to a safe way to build camaraderie with their friends while exercising and building skills, and improving their mental and physical health, in the same ways athletes engaged in more traditional sports do.
Efforts to address this need started in 2018, when a Comprehensive Recreation, Parks, and Open Space Plan prepared by Centre Region Council of Governments (COG) Steering Committee in consultation with Centre Region Parks and Recreation (CRPR) recommended the development of an action sports park.
The result of this planning is the High Point Skatepark, situated in High Point Park, a location about a mile from State High and accessible by CATA. New Line Skateparks has been tapped to develop the technical design for the project and lead construction. The company is one of the most experience and respected municipal design-build teams in the world, with more than 350 highly recognized projects over the last 20 years. Once complete, the High Point Skatepark will offer Centre County residents of all ages a place to enjoy the outdoors, while skateboarding, roller-skating, and riding bikes and scooters. It will be a safe, accessible and inclusive environment, including areas and flow lines for athletes in wheelchairs and exceeding all other ADA requirements. The High Point Skatepark will be an asset to the greater State College and Centre County community, drawing visitors to New Line Skateparks newest project and adding to our impressive CRPR parks system.
In order to achieve all of this, a group of interested parents and community members began a fundraising campaign, with a goal of $1.9 million to fully fund the project. With significant funding from Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Tony Hawk’s The Skatepark Project, State College Borough, the Hamer Foundation, and more than 100 individual donors, $1.1 million has already been raised.
Will you join these organizations and individuals by investing in this meaningful project to build a safe place for our kids to enjoy their sport while also enriching our greater State College community?