A Save The Skatepark initiative has been started, and seems to be making progress towards removing the dirt that fills the bowl at the skate park at East Side Recreation Field. The bowl was filled in last year as an “interim solution” to the liability problems that the city was facing after laying off the skate park supervisors due to budget cuts.
Many of the skateboarders in the Saratoga Springs area saw the bowl as their holy grail. It was the most fun, exciting way for these kids (and adults) to get exercise. Some skaters would even drive 100+ miles to come to Saratoga to skate the bowl, and undoubtedly spend some money before they left. After the half-pipe was removed in 2003 over safety concerns, the bowl offered skaters a little bit of vert without the possibility of falling off the ramp.
According to Charlie Samuels, one of the skaters trying to save the park, the bowl isn’t as dangerous as it appears. The bowl offers vertical walls to skate, while always having a surface to break your fall. You cannot fall out of the bowl.
The skate park is currently opened from dawn to dusk, and without supervision a skate at your own risk policy is in effect. Mayor Scott Johnson says that the skate at your own risk policy will only work if the bowl is filled with dirt. Volunteering arrangements were being looked at in order to provide supervision for the skate park, but most are skeptical that volunteer staff can be unreliable. So for now skateboarders can just look and dream of skating the famous bowl.
Samuels has written several letters and started a facebook page that has almost 3000 fans.The most recent letter states that the $30,000 loan taken to build the bowl is still being paid off, even though nobody is using it. The letter also states that the last time Samuels was at the park (Sept. 11 at 4pm) there were 22 people using the skate park, and zero people using East Side Rec for any other sport. The skateboarding community has even vowed to dig the bowl out themselves if given permission, meaning no additional money will need to be spent to remove the dirt.
How do you feel about the skate bowl at East Side Rec? Would you be willing to volunteer to supervise the park so skaters can enjoy the bowl? What if each skater was charged a dollar or two admission fee to help pay park attendants?
Photos from facebook.com/pages/save-the-skatepark/108318545861278