Montclair Parents and Skateboarders Rally For Skatepark

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2010 1:00pm  |  COMMENTS (1)

800px-Skateboard.jpgSkatepark in Montclair, NJ! is a group working hard to finally bring a skatepark to Montclair. They currently have 390 members on their Facebook group page, have been collecting signatures in a petition and have drafted a proposal to present to the Town Council on July 6.
Angel Kenney, the group’s organizer, doesn’t have children who skateboard, but she explained, “I am very interested in finding ways for young people to have empowering experiences, opportunities to fight for things they care deeply about and to gain skills in community organizing and working through a democratic process.”
She, along with others, got the ball rolling and started organizing the effort by holding various meetings, talking to kids who skate, meeting with members of the town council who explained the process to them. They even met with people who were involved in the Bloomfield Skatepark, which some would say has failed, to learn how NOT to do it.

Angel is happy to report, “Our first success was making a convincing presentation to the Montclair Parks and Recreation Committee. It was only after meeting and hearing the arguments presented solely by our young people, did the committee not only understand the need for a skatepark, but respected the commitment and passion that these young people have for this often misunderstood sport. Some of the kids really liken it more to an art form. We have learned to take advantage of community wide events, to use various forms of technology, as well as good ol’ person to person contact to gain supporters. We now have a giant list of names on our petition, an email contact list, a Facebook page and lots and lots of cell phone numbers!”
One of the supporters writes, “I’m a 10th grader at Montclair High School and I have been skating since the 5th grade. As soon as I was allowed to, my friends and I ventured out into the great opportunities of Montclair in order to find place that would suit our style of skateboarding. It was not long after we started, that we were promptly stopped by the higher authorities of the Montclair Community. We were kicked out of numerous spots around town and told that there was not a place that we could legally enjoy the criminalized sport that we participate in. Skateboarding was growing around the whole world, and so was the amount of people that stopped skaters. As skaters, all we want is a place in town that we can legally skate without being told time and time again that we cannot skateboard here.”
Skatepark in Montclair, NJ! is urging Montclair parents, kids and residents to support them by standing by them at the Tuesday, July 6 Town Council meeting:

Over the past year, I have been involved with a group of young people who would like to have a safe and legal place to practice their passion-skateboarding. I have been impressed with their enthusiasm and love for their sport (some would say art). We will be addressing the town council on Tuesday, July 6 to ask them to help us by allowing us to use a piece of town land in order to build a municipal skate park. We are NOT asking the town to pay to build a park. We plan on fundraising through private donors as well as public grants. This meeting is a big step, after a year of hard work, we really need the public’s support as we approach our local representatives.
We know that a skatepark in Montclair would attract many kids of all ages and demographic groups. Right now, we are asking you and your children and to join us on July 6, when we will present our proposed resolution to the town council. We need to show them that this is important to Montclair kids and families of all ages and types. We need your presence to get that point across.
The young members of our committee are gaining tremendous hands-on experience in the democratic process and community organizing, among other things! If you know of any young people who would like to become involved please let me know.
On July 6, at 205 Claremont at 8pm, let’s show our town council that skateboarding appeals to so many young people of all ages and races (as well as girls)!
Below is a draft of the resolution. It’s not final but is a general framework of what we hope will be presented next week.
Please let me know if you or your child would like to attend tonight. Please forward this to parents you know who have kids in these categories. We are also happy to help with transportation to the municipal building.
Thanks for your help!
Angel (Kenney)

To read the proposed resolution, click here.
Councilor Cary Africk, who has been skeptical in the past about building a skatepark in Montclair, is a bit more supportive of this effort:

I have attended meetings of skate park supporters in the past, and I too applaud the efforts, although I question the “1000 people who signed the petition.” I was approached and I signed, but I can assure you that the bulk of people I saw signing were youngsters, with no indication that they were Montclair residents nor no inclination as to whether they had signed multiple times. Nonetheless I am sure that there is a group of at least 100 who want to pursue this and that is certainly sufficient for me.
While it is the group’s prerogative to privately secure financing, and a place to build the park I would hope they would ask the question as to why the Bloomfield Skate Park has not been a success. I will ask our attorney to review a completely private operation and get his opinion as to any legal concerns that we should have.
I support a “private” arrangement whereby the Town has no financial responsibility for the skate park, nor does the town contribute any town owned property.
But to summarize, these are great kids, and great parents and I too welcome their efforts.


  1. POSTED BY vnc  |  July 03, 2010 @ 8:41 am

    The reason the Bloomfield park is under-used is because riders are (were?) required to wear elbow and knee pads – which are restrictive and unnecessary. (My sons have been riding skateboards for a dozen+ years, have never worn those pads, and neither has ever injured an elbow or knee.) I know there was discussion and effort to change this (insurance) requirement; I don’t know the outcome.
    I cannot post a reply to “herb…” on baristanet’s teaser article about this topic. But to “herb…” who states that a skatepark is a waste of money: If that’s true, then football fields, tennis courts, baseball diamonds, basketball courts, playgrounds… are all a waste of money, too.

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And we can get this project completed in time for Montclair's sesquicentennial when we can stick a fork into historic preservation as a public policy.

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