SAFE SPOT SKATE SPOT
The Rob Dyrdek Foundation Safe Spot Skate Spot program creates smaller, noninvasive authentic street spots for skateboarders to use. These locales minimize the amount of financing required for construction but still prove invaluable to each community by retaining a tasteful and artistic approach that appeases both the most hardcore skateboarder and non-skating city resident. The first Safe Spot Skate Spot was opened on February 24th, 2009 in Lafayette Park, Los Angeles.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
These are many of the same tactics that have worked to get skate parks built across the US. The important thing to remember: you don’t want a skate park, you want a Skate Plaza. Stick to your guns, and remember to educate as many people as possible about the Skate Plaza concept.
1. Organize a group of skaters—the larger the better.
2. Talk to your local skate shop and see if they’ll help you organize and have meetings in their shop. If you’re under 18, you’ll probably need an adult to help. Good sources are a local skate shop owner or a parent.
3. Start a petition. It’s always good to hit your city with big numbers to let them know there’s a huge demand that’s not being met. Take petition forms to your local skate shops and ask the managers if you can leave them for people to sign. Pick them up in about two or three weeks.
Take petitions to your schools. Take them to local skate parks and skate spots. There’s a good chance that most skaters already see the need for a Skate Plaza. If they don’t, you can explain it this way: “Want a Love Park here?” That should get their attention and explain the idea. Have your friends and family help you by taking the petitions to work.
Important: once you get the petitions signed, make copies of them! Cities have a way of losing paperwork that does not interest them.
4. Call your local newspaper and tell them you’re trying to get a Skate Plaza constructed. If they need background info, refer them to robdyrdekfoundation.org. Invite the reporter to all your meetings, and especially to Department of Parks and Recreation and City Council meetings. They’ll probably want to get some photos of you street skating. Try to have a diverse group for any photo shoot—readers will pull for the 6-year-old with no proper place to skate.
5. Organize as many skaters as you can to go to a Department of Parks and Recreation meeting and a City Council meeting. Call your town or city’s city hall to find out when and where the meetings are held.
When you get to the meeting, you might to need fill out a piece of paper or add your name to a list so that you can speak. It’ll help to have some notes prepared. Hit them with some simple, easy-to-understand concepts.
You have to convey the idea of the Skate Plaza to people who don’t know much about skateboarding—they may only know about it from video games or old movies. Basically, you want them to build you a Plaza-almost exactly like the spots you’re currently being kicked out, ticketed, or arrested. Only this Plaza will be for skateboarding. This will appeal to the more budget-conscious council or board members, because they’re a facility to be enjoyed by both the general public and skateboarders alike.
If making notes and rehearsing is too much for you, just get up and say that you want a skate Plaza because there’s nowhere to skate. Get as many speakers as you can! You can keep them there all night listening to you! Give them a copy of your petition and other facts from the booklet and resources on the Web site.
Let the newspaper know when you are going to a meeting and beg for coverage. Press coverage will help you, and it will make it difficult for officials to ignore your request.
6. This next step is critical: Follow up! Call the city and ask to speak with the Parks and Recreation director. Remind him or her about the meeting and ask what progress has been made. You will have to attend other meetings.
7. You should have a good idea of what is happening now. Hopefully, the city will have assigned someone to work on this project.
8. If you think that you’re in trouble or getting the runaround, you might want to consider staging a protest. A good place is outside city hall. You’ll need to get lots of skaters and friends. The key to any successful protest: media. Call your local newspapers, TV, and radio stations and ask them to cover it. Get as many media people there as possible. You can make signs and shirts for the day of the protest. Bring your boards and stage a huge skate-in.
Remember, it’s the city council’s job to carry out the wishes of the people in the community. Even if they don’t like skaters, they will have to deal with you. Your biggest asset is numbers. Get as many people as possible involved in the process, and you’ll start to get help from all sorts of places—skate shop owners, local businesses, local media, even local police officers.