Connecting state and local government leaders

Boise’s Sound Approach to Engaging Its Local Skateboarders

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Connecting state and local government leaders

Instead of viewing them as a nuisance, local leaders have been expanding recreational infrastructure and planning efforts.

When it comes to municipal relations with local skateboarders, Idaho’s capital city might not seem like the most obvious place where local officials have taken proactive steps to improve public recreational infrastructure for that community, sometimes viewed as violators who willfully ignore regulations governing use of public spaces.

But sure enough, the city of Boise is in many ways a model community for skateboarders.

The city and surrounding communities boast a handful of skate parks and the skateboarding community has collaborated with the Boise Department of Parks and Recreation on planning, including skatepark improvements being made to Glenn Rhodes Park, located under Interstate 184 near downtown.

The origins of that skatepark date back to 1991 when local skateboarders were chased from other locations around town and Glenn Rhodes, a local county highway commissioner, convinced local officials to designate the area as a place for skateboarders to congregate.

Since then, the skateboarding community made modest improvements to the site through the years as they became more organized and started attracting grant money for skatepark facilities.

And now, a newly expanded, state-of-the-art skatepark is supposed to open this spring, according to the Idaho Statesman.

Check out the plans for the facility.

“The new park will allow a lot of different skateboarders to skate at the same time,” Boise Skateboard Association board member Josh Davis said, according to the Boise Weekly. “There’s things for every ability level.”

Another good sign of a proactive relationship? The Boise Skateboard Association recently launched a new website where the area’s skateparks are mapped and amenities are detailed, a project done in collaboration with Boise Department of Parks and Recreation.

The digital resource fits in with the BSA’s mission of fostering “growth, creativity, learning, responsibility and community through skating by working with Boise City Parks and Recreation to develop new skate spots and improve existing skateparks.”

And sure enough, they’re doing just that.

(Boise Skateboard Association)

Michael Grass is Executive Editor of Government Executive’s Route Fifty.

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