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Feb 20, 2003 to Feb 6, 2013

Progress Trumps Fear

It's really too bad that the skate park in Crowell Lot was shot down. Elm Street simply won't have the same character, if it ever happens. We should learn to have faith in our youth. Otherwise fear trumps progress.

Gnarly in Pink


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No decision yet

The Selectboard hasn't been given the approved Recreation and Parks recommendation developed by the Skatepark Site Selection Committee, and has not made any decision.

Crowell was on the list and came in near the top of the list. Elm Street scored much higher. Each has its own character, strengths and weaknesses.

One would think that having the town select the highest rated location would show faith in the project and youth.

I was hoping we'd wait until there was an official decision before giving up all hope. Like, maybe next week... : )

I suggest holding one's fire until something has been officially decided. (Maybe there should be a ceremony where BASIC trades signs with RESITE, and we start all over again on different sides, down the street.)


Holding Fire

Sorry for not holding fire.

I was told by a Selectboard member: "We won't support Crowell Lot as a back up site, there's too much controversy there"

...which naturally got me fired up.

In terms of character, there really is not much comparison. Elm Street is simply less inviting to the 12 and under crowd, and is not a place where families will hang out.

Sure, over time the area could develop into a multi-use, recreation arts hub, but that will take an inspired vision and a strong commitment; neither of which this, or past selectboards have demonstrated.

In fact, when it comes to a skatepark the only thing they've demonstrated is that they'll revoke their commitment.

I'm not sure how faith and trust will be restored, but i'm sure it's possible.

For now, it just stinks not to have a Pink Helmet Posse in Brattleboro.
-Adam Hubbard


Currently families don't go to Elm street to hang out

And families won't go to Elm Street, even if a skate park emerges there. From what I have read, skate parks set up in marginal parts of town, do marginally, and frequently become places that families won't drop their kids off at.

The Tony Hawk Foundation interviewed a large number of police officers from over 100 communities, and the police officers response was unambiguous.

"To examine the impact of public skateparks from the local law‐enforcement perspective, the Tony Hawk Foundation surveyed law‐enforcement officers in communities where THF has contributed to the construction of a public skatepark. Each municipality included in this survey has had its skatepark open at least one year. In total, 102 officers in 37 states, from Oregon to New Hampshire, were interviewed."

"Many officers reported the skatepark’ location as a factor in whether or not they considered it a success. Some attributed their park’ success to highly visible locations, and several agree placing their skateparks next to other recreational activities has kept the park more visible and accessible."

If this is true, if the park isn't at Crowell, it should be at Living Memorial.


Skateboarder’s Tranquility Shattered by Flashing Blue Light

It’s the notion that something as free-spirited as skateboarding must be under a controlled protective and box canyon umbrella is what bothers me the most. For years people of all ages navigated at will on skateboards, roller skates, bicycles, jogging and other human powered forms of motion.

Individually, the reasons behind the use of this navigation were multifaceted: fun, play time, exercise, social interaction, transportation to and from, fresh air, to feel the wind in your face, crossing the street at will, games, competition, skill, showing off, etc.

As the militaristic control of our society engulfs us we find our freedom at hand being shoved into tight-assed, controlled little corners. When you try to step out to go your own way, you are harshly legislated back against the wall.

I’m old enough to say that I liked you humans from a past that is still in my blood. I don’t like much of what you people do to each other today. So, you go ahead and select your little close-minded “site.” The future is bearing down on you and this American does not like what he sees.

The other day as I drove down Green as it branched off of Western I passed a lone skateboarder in clear violation of the rules (law?). He stood tall, gently propelling himself along, seemingly at peace with himelf. To think that his youthful tranquility could have been shattered by the flashing of a “blue” light only seared the memory of this brief encounter with personal freedom at work deeper into my memory ... .. ... ..

I see no progress trumping fear, only fear itself. Our few pleasures in life are becoming anxiety disorders that thrive at another man’s pleasure, not of our own making.


Thrasher Princesses

Although I agree with Vidda’s sentiments about society’s tendency to neuter that which seeks exaltation and expression, there’s another facet of the skatepark discussion that the GNARLY In PINK video brings out.

The film really is well worth a look by interested parties, especially by the Selectboard and Rec Board. It shows not only a need for forward vision and support, but also highlights against-the-odds aspects that can only flourish when there’s understanding of the values at work, and an embrace of the possibilities.

The film shows that not only is a skatepark a highly specialized landscape built to maximize skills and thrills, it's a realm that must support a range of gender issues, age issues, and family issues that will undoubtedly arise. The film also gives a glimpse at a park built by the company that had been contracted to design the space for Crowell Lot. In its expanse you can see potentials unfold, socially and energetically. As an incubator for athletic excellence and camaraderie, you can see how an environment can be nurturing even within all the concrete.

Adam’s point is a very valid one. The externalities and internalites must have equally high values for a recreational facility to succeeed. I hope the powers-that-be make every effort to grasp these subtleties, and the chosen location is designed to flourish, not just be permitted.


Offers a monolithic solution to a very BASIC human activity

Although, not said by me in today’s post, I have said previously that I am 100% in favor of a skatepark.

But the unilateral effect of having a park site, at the expense of freedom and choices people desire in having a say in navigating their personal locomotion is troubling to me.

The park site arranges all the marbles on one side of the playing field. It is a solution that offers only a single monolithic solution to a very BASIC human activity.

It is, as Spinoza writes above, that a “skatepark a highly specialized landscape built to maximize skills and thrills, it's a realm that must support a range of gender issues, age issues, and family issues that will undoubtedly arise“ where you find me in total support, and indeed, looking forward to seeing this exciting development grow.

But a park site, by and of itself, imposes an obligation of forbearance to suffer everyone to support a scheme by one party only.


Gnarly in a Pink helmet


Yeah I saw the link Adam provided

Yeah I saw the link Adam provided. (I’m in between places and computers now-as soon as I can set up my hearing assisted pc again I’ll revisit it.)

The kids are cute, the parents looked happy, the skatepark looks wonderful.

The guy I saw skateboarding coming up Green was middle aged and looked like he was carrying a small bag of groceries. Without sound, I’m not sure this link addresses that, or if it does, can it be applied as a balanced solution for Brattleboro to address the people who wish to skate “to and from…” or those who simply do not wish to skate in a park. Can Brattleboro skaters skate to and from the park, if they wish, or do they have to drive or walk and carry the board to the site?


Push comes to shove

I don't see the town allowing skating to the park if it's downtown. There's an encrusted formality, ignorant of the realities, still enjoying the punitive advantage. I skate on my longboard almost exclusively these days, and it's a sobering experience to love something benign and useful, and see it treated with fear and loathing.

Sure there are many advocates, and tolerant people here. But in the main there's a lethargy towards such change. Any day over the decade of my squeaking wheels the concept could have been officially entertained with an open mind, and aired with ample evidence of benefit and reason--yet it never seems to happen.

So a concrete playpen is the oasis for now, until paradigms shift with future forces.


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