Wednesday, August 11, 2010

skaters discuss woodside skate spot, need for more places to go

After a meeting last month with neighbors and Reemberto Rodriguez, director of the Silver Spring Regional Services Center, local skaters were asked to write a letter detailing their concerns about the new Woodside skate spot and the need for more places to skate in the area. Instead, they produced this video, featuring interviews with local skaters.

While the county hasn't done a great job working with them before, I hope this will be the beginning of a more positive relationship.


Sligo said...

So the first guy is from DC and he's complaining about the skate park built by Montgomery County? Maybe if it was just MoCo residents using it, it wouldn't be so crowded.

Patrick said...

I have at agree with Sligo here. We don't build skate parks for people not from our state. I don't mind people from DC or neighboring communities like Takoma Park using our facilities, but don't complain when they aren't as good as you would like. You're not a tax payer here.

Also, they should ester their communities to build facilities for them. It's not our job to cater to every skater around.

I have to ask, too, that if skate boarding is so popular, why isn't there a for-pay skate park? Maybe there is. I don't know.

Silver Spring Skaters said...

Yes, Sligo, Jimmy Pelletier is based in DC, and he's been skating in Silver Spring for over 20 years. Jimmy is a leader in the entire Metro area skateboarding community, and he skates all over the area.

Unfortunately for you, neither you or anyone gets to exclude people from any public park based on where they live, and that includes skateparks.

And based on the data Dan Reed provided on this blog a long time ago, it wouldn't matter if no one from outside of Silver Spring skated Woodside -- it would still be overcrowded.

Woodside is overcrowded because as we were told at a meeting in November '09, Park and Planning went to a skatepark company and asked for the smallest possible skate spot. They asked for that in spite of the fact that Silver Spring has one of the largest communities of skaters in the entire DC area.

Public documents show that in 2007 Park & Planning determined that Woodside is too small for a skatepark. As skateboarding continues its explosion in growth, we have far more skateboarders in Silver Spring now than we did in 2007. Park & Planning was right -- Woodside is too small. And yet in 2010, that's where they chose to build.

Silver Spring Skaters said...

Patrick, public parks do not exclude users because they live in a different state. Is that what you're asking Parks to do? To start checking IDs to see who lives in Silver Spring and keep out skaters who don't?

Since that isn't going to happen, how about focusing on the data that Dan Reed provided a long time ago regarding the number of skaters IN Silver Spring, and please explain by what logic the tiniest possible skate spot could be expected to be sufficient for the almost 3,000 skaters who live here?

Sligo said...

We charge admission to the county pools... and charge more for non-residents.

Silver Spring Skaters said...

Memo to Silver Spring: ALL of your public amenities are utilized by people from other states.

That little-known fact aside, let's have a conversation about what our kids need.

Since Lisa Jaeggi made her short film No No Skateboarding (2005), Silver Spring's teens have been very vocal about what they need.

Unknown said...

I'm very impressed by how polite and respectful all the people in the video were. They made excellent points and I think the County needs to address these issues. It seems the best option is to build more skate parks AND make them bigger. Many of the skaters are having to come from Takoma Park only to find the skate park filled when they arrive.

With all this talk about the obesity epidemic among young people, shouldn't we be encouraging healthy activities like skate boarding? Take the money that some are suggesting we use for the library bridge and build 10 skate parks all over the area. If there's space I'd be happy to have one built in North Woodside. My two kids would love it!

WashingtonGardener said...

Michael said: >>Many of the skaters are having to come from Takoma Park only to find the skate park filled when they arrive.<<
Speaking of skateboarders who live in TP when IS the new skate park near Piney Branch middle school going to open? Last I heard it was "this fall." Anyone have an update? Justa mile from downtoen SS and TP centers - hopefully should take the pressure off the current situation.

John M said...


Combine the two lines to read the story.

John M said...

Sligo -- It looks like the Olney skate park does the exact same thing as the county's pools.

I'm not good with posting links, but just google "olney skatepark" and it's the first result. $75 to use the park for the entire year for county residents, $90 for nonresidents.

Stephen LaRochelle said...

Please Sk8ter Mom, with all due respect for what you've done and continue to do for the skating community, you have to understand that leading the video with someone from outside of Montgomery County does not look as good as it could when asking for county resources, regardless of his position in the community. Even better would have been video of (tax paying, voting) parents of these kids asking for more. The Gazette article mentioned a father taking a few kids and leaving discouraged. That is what, and from who, the county needs to hear.

To move beyond the back and neighborhood (not too far from the Woodside spot) has two tennis courts I rarely see used. How does one go about asking the county to look into converting it to a skate spot/park?

Silver Spring Skaters said...

Stephen, because so few adults in Silver Spring are willing to speak up for skateboarders here, I'm thrilled that Jimmy Pelletier did. He's not asking for a larger skatepark for himself or other DC skaters, he's asking for it for Silver Spring skaters, who have been ignored for the 10 years they've been asking for a real skatepark.

Silver Spring Skaters said...

Park & Planning reps told skaters that the Takoma Park skatepark will be built in 2011. Ironically, Park & Planning intended for Silver Spring's skatepark (which was supposed to be much larger) to take the pressure off the smaller Takoma Park location.

Takoma Park's skatepark will also be a small park (although larger than Woodside) as it will be replacing a tennis court.

retgroclk said...

I recall a time when tennis was popular and the County had tennis courts built throughout the parks.

There were times when groups of people had to wait for a chance to play.
Eventually rules were posted that limited the amount of time people could play. Everyone took turns and everyone waited for their turn.
Bob Fustero

Casey A said...

I would be happy to appear in a video expressing support for more skate parks. I live across the street from Woodside Park, and while I think it has been successful, it is just not big enough to handle all of the demand. Cramming all of the kids who want to skate in one postage stamp sized skate facility is a recipe for problems, including conflicts with other park users (like the kids who play basketball on the adjoining court). The county needs to get serious about allocating more space for skating -- it's good for the kids, and it's good for the adults who want to help them but don't want their neighborhood park overwhelmed by skaters.

Dan Reed said...

@Sligo, Patrick, everyone else who said something along the lines of "Maybe if it was just MoCo residents using it, it wouldn't be so crowded."

Maybe if MoCo residents didn't ride the Metro into DC, it wouldn't be so crowded. DC is a mile from Woodside Park. It's not surprising that kids from DC skate there - no more than it is that people from DC come to downtown Silver Spring.

Downtown Silver Spring is successful because of people (and dollars) from outside of downtown Silver Spring. They may not pay taxes here, but they have as much a right to be here as anyone else.

My first library card (when I lived in Georgian Towers) was from the Juanita Thornton library in Shepherd Park, DC. This is a two-way street.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

"I have to ask, too, that if skate boarding is so popular, why isn't there a for-pay skate park? Maybe there is. I don't know."

To continue this thought, why haven't any of the passionate fans of skateboarding used some of their own property to create the kind of skate park of which they dream?

Does it have to be the County or State building a highly specialized facility for skateboarders with few if any other possible functions just to keep these guys from ruining public property?

Sligo said...

Yes, but we pay a small fortune to ride Metro. It is a regional transportation system funded by multiple municipalities. Skate parks are paid for by MoCo taxpayers exclusively.

Silver Spring Skaters said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Silver Spring Skaters said...

Terry, do you ask football players, basketball players, baseball players to use their own property to do their sport?

Is it really a novel concept to give the huge numbers of Silver Spring kids who are participating in the fastest-growing sport in America, a place to skate? When those teens have used civic activism for years to ask for one?

Isn't that what you would do if you were passionate about a sport but had no place to play it?

Do you really fault the kids for asking for a place to skate when skateboarding keeps large numbers of young people from becoming sedentary and obese, and keeps them healthy and active in a time of rampant childhood obesity?

The Ad Council recently partnered with Warner Brothers to produce a public service ad asking kids to go outside and play 1 hour a day. Some of our kids don't need to be told to go outside and be active.

It's kind of hard to make the claim that we care about childhood obesity when kids who are living examples of active lifestyles have their needs so easily dismissed, and since some folks see no value in giving kids what they need beyond keeping "these guys from ruining public property".

Terry in Silver Spring said...

"Terry, do you ask football players, basketball players, baseball players to use their own property to do their sport? "

Football and baseball fields can be used for other sports (soccer, softball), for marching band or drill practice, or for exercising pets. They also keep open area with grass in the middle of communities.

Basketball is played in a gym that is multi-use. Volleyball, gymnastics, other sports. Events such as assemblies and flea markets can also be held in those gyms.

A skate park is a concrete area with ramps and structures specifically designed for skaters to use. You can sit on those structures when the skaters aren't there. Not much other use.

A skate park is county resources being spent on a very small demographic for a single use to keep those guys from damaging other areas. Sort like putting in walls for graffiti kids to paint on.

Silver Spring Skaters said...

Terry, Terry, day you will learn to understand the value of kids in a community. You're not there yet.

Terry in Silver Spring said...


One day you'll learn that the County doesn't have to subsidize your children's hobby....

one that isn't shared by any significant percentage of county residents...

one that causes damage to surfaces where it's done....

one whose specialized park is useless for other purposes.

Build a great skating area in your backyard and throw the gates open to all the skater kids.

Silver Spring Skaters said...

Terry, I'm not advocating for my children, I'm advocating for our children -- this community's children. They may not matter to you, but I care about all of them, and while you look for every reason to disregard everything they've been saying for 10 years, I'll keep fighting for them,and helping and supporting them in any way I can.

John M said...

Sk8ter mom -- I really think that if you're going to be the "mother" to SS skateboarders, you should set a better example.

For instance: (1) On your blog, you call DTSS security officers "street thugs." Regardless of how you feel about the behavior of the officers, calling them street thugs is extreme. If we called your precious skateboarders thugs based on the criminal incidents that have been reported, you'd be up in arms. (2) On your facebook page, you post a link to the Silver Spring Singular blog, and write "This is what ignorant idiots in our community think of Woodside [skate spot], and why I despise Silver Spring." Sorry, but regardless of whether you disagree with others' opinions, I don't think it is appropriate to be calling them "ignorant idiots."

I hope the residents of Woodside, and all of SS, find out what you think of them. If this is the type of attitude you're imparting to your skateboarding "children," then it seems as though SS is not the right place for all of you.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

"Terry, I'm not advocating for my children, I'm advocating for our children -- this community's children."

No, you are advocating for YOUR children and their friends, a miniscule percentage of children in the community.

"They may not matter to you, but I care about all of them, and while you look for every reason to disregard everything they've been saying for 10 years, I'll keep fighting for them,and helping and supporting them in any way I can."

Get down off the high horse before you fall and hurt yourself.

Silver Spring Skaters said...

John M. and Terry, when you want to have a real conversation about the thousands of kids in our community who skateboard, I'm game.

And John, FYI, when someone posts something on a blog and a Facebook fan page, it usually means they're trying to be very public with their views.

Terry in Silver Spring said...


I was. You sunk to the person stuff.

Skateparks are not a good way to further invest County money. There's one in Woodside, and one coming in Takoma Park. More than enough. Those venues can only be used for skateboarding, a hobby of a small percentage of people.

I think County money should be spent on spaces and features that are of wider appeal and flexibility. When we build a skatepark, we're essentially spending money to keep the skateboarders from damaging (intentionally or unintentionally) public and private property.

You've responded to reasonable comments with broad statements and emotional retorts. Back up your points with more than "it's for ALL our children" and you might find more support.