by Sarah Anderson
Over one hundred people from various cultural and economical backgrounds filled Nyack’s Village Hall on Feb 28. A few mothers were nursing their babies, while other parents sat beside their teenage children. Adults dressed in professional attire chatted with neighbors. Everyone was united by one common interest: skateboarding.
The sweet scent of Gypsy Donuts wafted though the air as we partook in a presentation regarding the possibility of building a small skate plaza in Memorial Park. The area proposed, currently slated to be a half basketball court, is beside an existing basketball court and is several blocks away from an additional basketball court and a half.
So why does Nyack need a skate plaza?
Skateboarding, the third most popular sport for youth ages 8-18, is more popular than baseball. The movement to build a skateboard park in Nyack has over 867 Facebook followers and nearly 1,000 petition signatures, over half of which are from Nyack residents. Approximately 4.6% of the U.S identifies as skateboarders. If you apply that percent to the 2010 Census count for the Nyack river villages, over 311 Nyack residents and 810 people who live in the three Nyack villages are likely to say they are skateboarders. These people currently have nowhere locally to skate.
Skateboarding is an accessible and positive physical activity that bridges age, culture, gender, and economics. All you need is a skateboard to participate. In a time where obesity is an epidemic among our youth, skateboarding avails itself easily to all participants. It is particularly engaging for those who are not drawn to traditional team sports. At the Feb 28 meeting, residents remarked, “Skateboarding is a lifestyle… skateboarding was the only sport I felt comfortable doing… The skateboarding community is all embracing… It is a sport one continues to do for LIFE”.
Skateboarding has been demonstrated to be safer than cycling, football, baseball, and basketball, all of which have legitimate space within our village. The increase to the Nyack’s liability would be about $500-$600 annually.
A well-built plaza requires very little maintenance. Other towns and villages have whole-heartedly embraced this sport. Public concrete skateparks, skate plazas, and skate spots are popping up all over the tri-state area. There are currently afterschool skateboarding programs for youth throughout Westchester, in New Rochelle, Rye, Yorktown, Pleasantville, Yonkers, and Ardsley.
We are asking for a space about the size of a tennis court, to build a state of the art, beautiful skate plaza. The design would be aesthetically integrated into the park and would be multi-functional, with skate-able benches and landscaping features. The skate plaza would be a place to further build our community, bridge gaps, and run formal programs. We are not asking for taxpayer dollars… we will do the fundraising.