Just in time for summer, the Blake Doyle Skatepark is set to open to the public on Tuesday, May 2 at 3pm. Like most 90’s kids, I am someone who grew up around skateboarding. We saw it on TV, in movies, on cereal boxes, around town and later on the internet. Full disclosure, I do not skate and skateboarding is strictly a spectator sport for me. But that’s what makes it so cool, right? It’s just as fun to watch as it is to participate, for me anyways.
Skaters and their fans come from all walks of life. Men and women, boys and girls. If you’re a teenager or have a teenager, the odds are good that you’ve stood on a skateboard or watched your kid stand on a skateboard within the last year.
Besides serving as a space to get outside and enjoy physical activity, here are three not so obvious reasons why I’m excited about the city’s newest addition and you should be too.
1) Engaging the community — we have already watched our community rally around this project and bring people together, people who may not interact otherwise. Skateparks are unique because they serve as a place where adults, adolescents, and children can use the space together as peers.
2) A gathering place for our youth — skateparks become a home-away-from-home for so many kids and give them a sense of belonging. More than anyone, young people need to feel like they are recognized and appreciated by their communities.
3) Contribution to economic development — local parks and improvements have a direct impact on the local economy. Park improvements increase real-estate value and activate spaces that may otherwise be seldom used (i.e. underneath a highway ramp).
So, if you skate you probably didn’t even need to read this, your excitement and anticipation is probably at at 10. But if you’re like me and don’t skate, there are still plenty of reasons to rally around this Pensacola project. Five weeks to go — thanks for the sneak peek City of Pensacola, it’s looking good, real good.