For those of you that are not familiar with South Bank, it is one of the most prominent skate spots in the world; recognized globally by people in and outside of skateboarding. Whether it be for a “perfect urban location” in a motion picture production, a commercial, or immortalization of the South Bank spot in numerous of video games; it has always served well as a public space.
There are currently demolition proposals to clear the area and build shops in the existing space. While filming for one of his earlier videos, Josh Kalis (a reputable pro) was haggled and confronted by a Philadelphia city employee about property damage done by skaters at Love Park, his rebuttal was essentially:
- “I guarantee you that more tourist come to Love Park for skateboarding during the Summer, than tourists come just to see Love Park. I also guarantee you, if you ask any of the storeowners if they want skateboarders banned, they’ll say… No”
A few points I’d like to add here:
- The park was junky ridden and bursting with criminal activity, long before skaters took notice of its phenomenal architectural layout. I’ve seen fellow skaters come to the park with brooms to sweep up before a day long session.
- A few of the skate trips I’ve personally been on to Love Park (prior to it being illegal to skate on the premises of the park grounds), I noticed top notch pros come from California to make a Love Park pilgrimage.
- Present day Love Park is completely ilegal to skate in. The city of Philadelphia has spent more money installing planters to block grindable granite ledges, than they actually spent on renewing the “skated and destroyed” ledges.
- Today’s Love Park looks corroded and in decay to say the least. Aside from the junkies that still frequent the park daily, it’s empty with just an occasional passerby here and there. Previously, tourists would walk into the park to watch skaters preform; as opposed to now where they just walk in for a moment, snap their “default Instagram Love Park sign” photo and leave.
- I would be more surprised if the businesses surrounding the park aren’t hurting more now, than when 30 to 40 skateboarders were in the park across the street on any given day.
- DC Shoes tried donating 1 million dollars to the city of Philadelphia that could have went to the process of revamping Love Park, their only guideline was to decriminalize skateboarding in Love Park. The city declined the offer (dipshits). I guess these high-powered imbeciles didn’t realize kids will still skate this spot and they will still perceive these teenagers as criminals.
- A lot of these “law-breaking teens” come from broken homes. Some come from the “not so safe”, lower-tax bracket neighborhoods. I’m one of them. We utilize skateboarding as the ultimate outlet in empowerment. It can be a form of releasing negative energy, a physical activity that surely beats sitting in front of a TV and a creative outlet above all else.
Not to worry, not going off on a tangent here. Just make an analogy. This post is about South Bank, Love Park is just a good example of what kind of decline is going to happen to tourism into South Bank.
If you skate I would assume you care enough to fill out this online petition or this one. They both take literally a minute to complete, don’t pretend you’re busy.
If you don’t care enough to complete this petition or don’t skate, that’s fine. Just remember there’s a possibility your very own children some day can take up this awesome hobby/lifestyle of being a “criminal”.