Every time I go to Carondelet Park and see the above site, this thought ticker tapes through my brain: “…skating rink…skateboard park… skating rink… skateboard park….”
Considering that St. Louis now has near-tropical winters that are jeopardizing the Forest Park skating rink, another rink is not a smart long-term investment. But a skateboard park is totally doable.
I know very little about skateboarding or ‘board parks, other than my eyes were always riveted to the kids wheeling about Keiner Plaza. But the laziest Internet search shows plenty of people know how to turn most anything into a skateboard park, so my gut reaction to this odd, unused space at Carondelet isn’t such a crazy idea.
So far, The St. Louis Parks Department has done a brilliant job of making Carondelet more attractive and useful to 21st century patrons (my eternal thanks to you for putting the water fountains back in working order), and there’s plenty more changes awaiting. Which reminded me that there is a Master Plan for the park, so let’s see what they have planned for this area.
On page 31 of the recommendations, they called for turning the “Bear Pit” into an “adventure playground” with a bear theme. As shown in the above photo (purloined from their Master Plan), to make this idea feasible to parents and security, the top half of the walls would be sheared off. Well, that effectively erases most traces of uniqueness and history, leaving behind what looks like an elaborate sink hole.
The adventure park is a nice idea, but it would then be just one of several new and/or updated playgrounds in Carondelet. Sure would be nice to have something a bit more unique in this curious spot, something that would truly be a must-see destination… skateboard park.
On page 34 of the Master Plan: “Consider diversifying the active recreational programming in the park to include other recreational sports.” Seems a skateboard park would qualify as such, yes?
I’m far too old to know about, or champion the cause, for skateboarders; I’m simply wishing that the city would do a little creative thinking and offer up something with more pizzazz than an “adventure park.” A Request For Ideas could be a great opportunity for the City to truly engage the kids by asking for their thoughts on how to develop this spot, a serpentine site ripe for daydreaming and fantastical tales.