Plans laid out by Marty Ramos, owner of Kona Skate Park, detail the possibility of several new skate parks coming to the downtown Jacksonville area. Ramos’ plan includes the conversion of four local parks into areas for skaters, with a fifth site to be developed as a lot for the DIY-minded.
The story behind the proposed development goes back to May when the city of Jacksonville threatened to impose a ban on skateboarding in a lopsided attempt to reduce vandalism in the downtown’s Urban Core. The legislation, proposed by City Councilman Bill Gulliford, was intended to outlaw skating in public spaces downtown, but was written so loosely that it would have affected all public areas across the city.
Gulliford’s call for the city to be “cleaned up” and promote “good conduct [in downtown]” was met with strong outcry from Jacksonville’s skating community. Before the legislation could go to a vote, Gulliford postponed the bill and met with local skating advocates and leaders. These individuals included Ramos, The Block Skate Supply, Saint Nicholas Skate Shop and Able Skate Mag.
Ramos’ plan is a very rough draft of what could be, and has yet to be agreed upon by the skating community or the city. The Block expressed “some of these ideas are good and some aren’t” in a recent Facebook post. Able, a local skateboard publication, also believes a better consensus should be reached before making an official proposal to the city.
The locations proposed by Ramos are existing city parks in various downtown areas and include:
- Florida C. Dwight Park
- Terrain (jib) park with art and concrete objects.
- Brooklyn Park
- Perimeter pump track, stairs with rails, mini-ramp, launch box, mini-bowl, dog park.
- Main Street Pocket Park
- Urban “skate park that doesn’t look like a skate park” utilizing existing landscape.
- Washington Street Park at Hogan’s Creek
- Pools, bowls, flow course, strong focus on transition elements.
- Sports Complex pond site (under Hart Bridge)
- DIY skate lot.
The Block and Able have both stated they will update progress on their respective Facebook pages. Additionally, Able is running an online poll to gain insight from the community.