Dear City of Tampa - Is It Too Much To Ask?

Posted on Thursday, July 29, 2004 by Ryan


I wonder how much water-front property is worth in New Zealand? Apparently they place the value of skateboarding very high down there.
Listen To Ryan Clements!
Dear City of Tampa - Is It Too Much To Ask?
Words and Photos by Ryan Clements

Sorry to inform you, but that park is actually in New Zealand. Thanks to Aunt Ann and Uncle Scotty for the snap-shot. That's not the point though. It's a simple skate park, right? Nothing too extreme, no gigantic bowls with pool coping or 4' tall pyramids. What's so difficult about having one of these built in Tampa?

I'm not afraid to call a spade a spade. The mini-ramp is good. Cowabunga!

Is this really necessary?
Dude, that's like soooooo sick...I could fully melon off that kicker to the bank!
I'm sure you've all heard about our new public skate park in Tampa, the one just south of Ybor City. It's a bunch of pre-fabricated ramps on a fenced-in, cement slab. Gee, thanks City. Last time I checked, we have tons of wood ramps here at Skatepark and we reconstruct them annually to keep the course exciting. So why construct basically the same type of obstacles only three or four miles away? And to top it off, it's fenced in and regulated with a helmet and full-pad rule. You know what's even funnier? The City officials are SO proud of getting it done. At least the local Mexicans in the neighborhood have some overpriced, pre-fabbed ramps to use as new slides.

The inhabitants are mellow in the morning...better watch yo' ass around sundown. Can you believe they tore down a perfect skate spot and built this?!
Maleek's board was on the hurt, so I brought him a new one courtesy of Skatepark. Hopefully he keeps skating. There's just too little time to tell you all of the stories.
I enjoy making the comparison of the 'new skate park' to the Bro Bowl. The Bro Bowl is about 30 years old and it's never been regulated. Ever. You can skate there any time of day without a helmet, in your underwear if you like. The only risk factors at the Bro Bowl are the local tenants of the projects. I have so many Bro Bowl violence stories that I can't begin to tell them. Have you been over to the Bro Bowl recently? The City decided to tear down the entire brick fountain area directly behind the Bowl. That's right, no more banks, hip, or little ledges...that was all great, natural skateboarding terrain. No skateboarders were consulted on that decision.

Here's a little secret: I met with the City guys on several occasions about the 'new skate park.' I pitched my "modern day Bro Bowl" idea to them. I explained to them how we could take the old concept of the Bro Bowl and build it for today's skaters. Our relationship ended because they were unable to pay me. I know what you're thinking, "Man, that's so lame that Clements didn't help because he wasn't making any money." Believe me, I'm totally down to volunteer, but it wasn't a volunteer job. The architects, planners, developers, and contractors weren't doing a thing for free, so why should I? If everyone was doing it for charity and for the love of skateboarding, I would have been down to do so as well. That's the business world, kids.

So why is the Bro Bowl a free-for-all and the 'new skate park' under rules and restrictions? I seriously have no idea, but I doubt it's liability. I do know that the City has only lost one lawsuit concerning the Bro Bowl. They had to pay out $10,000. That's an excellent track record for a 30-year run. If private business could pull that off, you'd probably be getting your health insurance paid for by your employer, not to mention some other benefits.

I don't know what else to say other than I'm going to skate Bro Bowl after work today (before they make some ridiculous decision to tear it down).

Ryan

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