Making the Case for a Skatepark in Millican-Ogden - A Guest Blog
Kids in our great neighbourhood who may not be able to afford to play organized sports like baseball or soccer might get into skateboarding because it’s so inexpensive.
Written by: Zev Klymochko
Published: May 7, 2018
I’ve been heavily involved in skateboarding for most of my life. I started out skateboarding on the streets and sidewalks in my neighbourhood in Winnipeg. As I got a little older, I branched out to other neighbourhoods and even ended up skating downtown a lot. We had no dedicated skateparks in the city, except for a few months in the summer that would see a couple of arenas turned into skateparks with wooden ramps.
I always told myself I’d never start a sentence with, “In my day…” or “Kids these days…”
Well, in my day, we didn’t have skateparks. Kids these days have it easy—there are skateparks all over Calgary. There are seven outdoor concrete skateparks and several mobile skateparks that operate in different neighbourhoods throughout the summer—all are free to use.
I know a lot about this because I non-profit organization I helped start, the Calgary Association of Skateboarding Enthusiasts (CASE) has advocated for these skateparks. Personally, I’ve spoken to City Council, administration, and community associations, all in an effort to convince them that skateparks are a great idea.
The thing is, I’ve never considered my own neighbourhood of Millican-Ogden for a skatepark. Maybe I didn’t want to seem selfish in my advocacy. It would have been easy for someone to say, “You only want a skatepark by your house so you can use it.”
You know what? I do want a skatepark by my house now. Here’s why:
- Millican-Ogden has the highest amount of green/park space of any neighbourhood in the city. This is one of the reasons why our neighbourhood is amazing. It also lends itself to suitable lands for a skatepark.
- Ward 9 currently has no skateparks, nor are any planned.
- The Green Line will come through our neighbourhood by 2026. I’m sure some of you have been to the open houses for the Green Line. With all this talk about ensuring the stations are “activated” and draw people in, wouldn’t it be great to have a skatepark near one of the stations?
- My daughter will be two years old this June. I figure if I start my advocacy now, by the time she’s old enough to skate (or bike), we’ll have a skatepark in Millican-Ogden.
- Skateparks have seen massive investment from the City of Calgary. The Skateboard Amenities Strategy recommends almost 270,000 square feet of skatepark terrain be developed in the next decade. With the six skateparks that have been built since 2015, we’ve barely scratched the surface.
- The City has been studying skatepark use in recent years and they’re finding that skateparks are being used at a very high rate, especially for an amenity that is the fraction of the cost of something like an arena or swimming pool and requires very little maintenance.
- Skateboarding will debut as an Olympic sport at the 2020 games in Tokyo. We could have the next Canadian Olympic athlete right here in our community—shouldn’t we nurture them and provide them with a place to hone their skills?
Keep in mind that, although the preferred nomenclature is “skatepark”, that doesn’t mean skateboarding is the only activity allowed. Bicycles, inline skates, and even scooters frequent these parks. And that’s a good thing.
It’s estimated that there are over 30,000 people who skate in Calgary. What would that number look like if you added the above user groups? I’m guessing we’d be well into six digits.
I want Millican-Ogden to prosper. I’ve lived in the community since 2005 and I don’t plan on moving anytime soon. I want my daughter and all the kids here to grow up with the ability to go have fun. A skatepark is one way to do that. Kids in our great neighbourhood who may not be able to afford to play organized sports like baseball or soccer might get into skateboarding because it’s so inexpensive.
If you want to help, please contact Councillor Carra and the Ward 9 office to let them know a skatepark would be a welcome addition to our neighbourhood.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Councillor Gian-Carlo Carra, the Ward 9 Office or The City of Calgary.