Having localised a variety of West Yorkshire skateparks over the past 15 years, I've seen first hand the benefit of skater-owned skateparks. Increasingly becoming a rarity in the UK, even more so than Skater-owned Shops (!) and with the recent demise of Frontside Gardens and Empire, we decided to begin this series celebrating the rarity that is the skater-owned skatepark!
I got in contact with a couple of skatepark owners to discuss the ins and outs of running a skatepark in 2017. First up is a few questions with Lee from Xsite Skatepark, Skegness!
Footitt goes bank to wall the hard way!
Hi guys, could you start off with a little history of your park?
We set up in 2000 as a group of Skaters and BMXers who were fed up of having nowhere to skate. We never dreamed of having anything like what we have now, we just wanted somewhere to skate without all of the hassle. We managed to get support from a couple of local councillors and the local development officer and it all snowballed from there. We set up Lincolnshire Extreme Sports Association, a registered Charity and non profit organisation and began applying for funding from Sport England and the like. Finally the funding came in and we were able to get the skatepark built. Massive mentions need to be made to Nick Bray who was part of the group from day one and without his drive and commitment none of this would be here now, hope you’re enjoying the Aussie sunshine now you’ve emigrated!!!
Having been open for just over 10 years, and seen multiple changes including the outdoor plaza being built, wind turbine going in to subsidise energy use, and the 2013 refit of the indoor park, what's been the most rewarding thing to get done?
The most rewarding part was actually opening, and still being open today! No one thought we would get a skatepark, never mind staying open for so long.
How much of a pull for people has the miniramp been? For a long time it was (and still is) one of the best in the country!
The miniramp still is one of the best for sure and we still try to hold the UK Mini Ramp Champs here every year. Due to a lack of financial support from sponsors last year we have had to have a year out, but we are planning to hold it again this year bigger and better. If anyone is keen to support the event, get in touch!
Ryan Hurt Backside Airs at the 2013 Miniramp Champs
What would you say is the biggest challenge you've faced since running the park?
The biggest challenge by far is keeping the doors open! We rely on people coming through the door and paying to skate. We are not backed by a big company or business man who bails us out. We are a small group who have to pay bills and rents just to stay open. We know the struggles of skater owned parks and stores and it’s never good to see one close.
Finally, what's the best thing about running a skatepark?
The best thing is seeing everyone skate, whether just for a session in an afternoon or when everyone comes together for an event. Seeing everyone from a kid coming for the first time or a rad dad getting back into it after a few years out its all the same.
Joe Howard Inverts at a Christmas Lock In where Blinky dressed as a snowman, and Jono Coote as a sexy elf...
If you're involved with a skater-owned skatepark and would like to be featured, please get in touch at any of the below places!