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Parks board member presents idea for multi-use skate parks

Friday, September 4, 2020 by Savana Dunning

Parks and Recreation Board Member Rich DePalma presented an idea for the parks department to use spare park space, stormwater maintenance structures and freeway underpasses for wheeled sports parks. The concept marries the department’s long-range goal to invest in non-traditional sports such as skateboarding, derby, bocce ball and ultimate Frisbee, while potentially working to meet the needs of the Watershed Protection Department by creating flood management areas. DePalma also wants to complement the city’s expansive trail system with something that speaks to younger generations. During the presentation, DePalma pointed out that Austin, which currently has three skate parks, falls behind other municipalities such as San Antonio and Portland when it comes to alternative recreational facilities. The Tony Hawk Foundation, which provides grants to underserved communities to build inclusive skate parks, gave the Texas/Arkansas/Louisiana/Oklahoma region a C+ for its lack of skate parks. The idea is in its infancy, although DePalma said he has already received support from other department members. DePalma asked PARD Director Kimberly NcNeeley to help him identify any laws that might restrict the creation of these parks and plans to reach out to the Texas Department of Transportation for an agreement on the use of underpasses. He said issues concerning homeless displacement and funds will be worked out in later discussions.

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