The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Debate continues over creation of skatepark in Urbana

Skaters from both the University and the Champaign-Urbana area are continuing to pressure public officials to build a skatepark for the city of Urbana.

Ten skaters, both students of the University and Urbana locals, voiced their support for the proposition at Urbana’s city council meeting on Nov. 27. Those who spoke discussed the bustling skating community in Urbana and how the city has neglected their concerns.

Andrew Valentine, owner of Urbana’s skeuwep skateshop, believes that a new park for Urbana’s bustling community of skaters is long overdue. While Champaign boasts Sunset Ridge Skatepark, Urbana lacks its own skating space.

“I have been running Urbana’s local skateboard shop for quite some time now,” Valentine said. “Champaign and Urbana, as well as the University of Illinois, have quite a big population of skaters. However, Urbana really has nothing official to welcome them.”

Skaters sent a total of 116 emails of support for building a new skatepark, according to Urbana council officials. Chris Evans, councilman and supporter of the new project, said that the city continues to push aside skater concerns.

    Sign up for our newsletter!

    The City of Urbana administration wants nothing to do with a skatepark, claiming the government doesn’t have the ‘capacity’ to build and operate a skatepark,” Evans said via an email statement. “The administration kicked the skateboard kids to the Park District.”

    A pro-skater group with a strong presence at the council meeting was the Inline Insomniacs, which is one of the University’s main skateboarding, biking and rollerblading clubs. Aditya Kapoor, a member of the club, spoke about the club’s influence and passion for the skatepark cause.

    “Twenty to 80 of us once a week will go skating and even in the rain,” Kapoor said to Urbana’s councilmen. “We have huge turnouts; a third of us just from the club itself came here today to support this.”

    Most of the council agreed with the contributions like Kapoor’s but encouraged the skaters to voice their concerns to the Urbana Park District. Valentine also emphasized that skateboarding and a communal space for skaters in Urbana will foster community and support for disadvantaged youth and University students.

    “A skatepark is a great place for people, young or old, especially young, who might not have much guidance or supervision,” Valentine said. “Skateboarding is a great way for somebody to learn perseverance, confidence and patience as well as getting some very good exercise.”

    Evans highlighted the potential cultural and economic benefits of the park, saying a public space for skaters will bring new money into Urbana through events like concerts and can potentially lessen dangerous street skating. 

    “A downtown skatepark can enhance safety, public health, legal compliance, public safety; enhance physical, mental and emotional well-being, and stimulate economic, cultural and educational contributions,” Evans said in the email statement.

    With mixed answers from Urbana officials on the ability to create a skatepark in the near future, Valentine hopes that the city will allow the creation of a makeshift park soon.

    “Since the park district is still trying to acquire funding for a whole phase of building that comes before the skatepark, I think we’ll have at least an easier time getting the city to let us take over a city parking lot that we could turn into a DIY skate park potentially,” Valentine said.

     

    [email protected]

     

    More to Discover
    ILLordle: Play now