Plano's Building a $1 Million Skatepark. Will Dallas Ever Do the Same?

Categories: City Hall, Sports

SkaterGuapoSkateBowl.jpg
Patrick Michels
Night at the Guapo skate bowl circa 2010.
This week, the Plano City Council voted to build a new, $1 million outdoor skatepark. McKinney opened one earlier this year. Arlington has plans to build a dozen.

And in Dallas there's a tiny, cheaply built, prefab affair tucked away in a small neighborhood park seven miles east of downtown. Among skaters, it's almost universally scorned.

The question, then, which has been bugging skaters for years, and in some cases decades, is this: Why can't Dallas build a decent public skatepark?

Actually, that question no longer bugs a lot of the old-timers, who have resigned themselves to driving to the suburbs or going to self-built spaces like the Guapo Skills Center in the Cedars.

See also

Legendary Dallas Skateboarders, Rebuffed By The City In Their Efforts To Build A Public Skatepark, Go Underground And Build Their Own.

"It's just a losing battle," says Gregg Stubbs, a 46-year-old legal consultant who first showed up at City Hall to lobby for a public skatepark around 1996. A friend has been doing the same since the 1980s. "I'm convinced that Dallas will never build one."

Why that's the case remains something of a mystery, particularly in a city that can put a park on top of a freeway and will pour millions into horse parks and landfill golf courses.

There was a relatively close call in 2007 when, as Patrick Michels reported three years ago, a Seattle-based skatepark builder designed a modest course to be part of the Trinity Strand Trail, which a wealthy donor promised to fund to the tune of several million dollars.

"As the process moved along, it came to the point where the friends of the Trinity Strand Trail had to endorse the idea of a skatepark," parks department head Willis Winters, then an assistant director, explained to Michels. "It was put to a board vote, and they decided it would not really fit into their plans for the connection, and at that point it went away."

And there are rumors that the city actually does have plans to build something on a piece of property underneath the I-345 underpass in Deep Ellum and is waiting on TxDOT approval, but those murmurings have been around for a couple of years with nothing to show for them. Even if true, it's unlikely the city would do anything right before the state tears up the freeway for a years-long reconstruction.

Stubbs think it may have something to do with skating's image. Too many people at City Hall associate it with drugs, graffiti and delinquent kids. Or maybe it's something else. It isn't really important now. Thanks to decades of mostly mute resistance, the city has gotten its message across.

"I'd say there's too many other things to do than to worry about going to City Hall and petitioning them about stuff they're going to say no to anyway," Stubbs says.


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31 comments
spacethigpen
spacethigpen

the real question is when is it gonna be done lmao

zizzoisrad
zizzoisrad

We should rally up and keep pressing the issue.

mjpowers77
mjpowers77

Thanks for covering this Dallas Observer! This is a very sore subject for most Dallas skaters. Especially with so many great parks being built in other large cities throughout Texas and the entire country. I'd love to hear what Dallas Parks and Rec has to say. Anyway we could get a follow up with them ?

layeredsin
layeredsin

I've been hangin' with my peeps at Heisenberg's crib. 'nuff said.

WhiteWhale
WhiteWhale

What you want to kill a bunch a people or waste more money?  If Dallas builds a skate park like they built the whitewater thing either it will never open or there will mega casualties.

Sharon_Moreanus
Sharon_Moreanus topcommenter

Good for Plano!!!

We wasted 5mil + & still can't get the wave going.

Hence.... I vote for...horses instead of carts at the new golf course.

outdoormama
outdoormama

For a city with big dreams, we run scared when it comes to outdoor adventures. The excuse is always the same. It's too big of a liability.  It is no more a liability for Dallas, than it is for anyplace on the planet. The problem is, we don't have a culture at city hall that values running, hopping, skipping and jumping wild and free. Sometimes I think they fear, if we did, then we would expect to be able to work, live and play wild and freely, with whoever we wanted to. So we will keep building things behind fences and inside buildings that keep our ideas buttoned up tight, in control and in check. 

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

Skate Parks?  What is this, 1983?  Is this in response to some petition circulating at the local Hot Topic?  

Is Hot Topic even open anymore?

If they get a skate park, I want a video arcade, damnit.

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

This article confuses me. The headline alone is baffling.

There's a skatepark on St. Francis near I-30. If there's also one in the Cedars, to me that's at least 2 in Dallas.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano topcommenter

Sell some bonds, Dallas, and turn those closed pools into world class skate parks.

RobX
RobX

It’s a mystery how and why the city spent so much on the whitewater course that remains unusable so many years later. Talk about a lot of tax money benefitting so very few (benefitting none right now).

One of the goals of the parks department, I think, should be to create public places that attract and bring people together. Go visit any of the concrete skateparks in North Texas, and you’ll see a melting pot of all ages and demographic groups there from sunup to until the gates are locked – then compare that to all the mostly underused tennis and basketball courts scattered around town.

And the equestrian center? Who was asking for that? Hell yeah, I want a pony, too. The thing about a skatepark is all you need is a skateboard.

engmofo
engmofo

Skatepark ......Right

They'll get on that right after building two more fake bridges & finding someone pseudo- important to name it after

BTW those are my legs, do I get paid?

oakclifftownie
oakclifftownie

Plano's Building a $1 Million Into a Skate Park. Will Dallas Ever Do the Same?

HUH ?

manpanties
manpanties

almost universally scorned?  I'd say its total.  when my son was 7 he told me it was a waste of time, and it was his only exposure to skateparks at the time.  the last couple of times we went, it was impossible to skate because it was full of kids just running around the place while their fatass moms used the ramps like their own personal benches.  thanks plano, it will be a shorter drive than allen or lewsiville.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@everlastingphelps 

Holy cow that brings it all back . . .  Berzerker, Defender, Legend of Zelda, Night Driver, Asteroids, Centipede, Space Invaders, Tetris, Dig-Dug, Crazy-Climber, Donkey Kong . . .

If we're going that far, I want a Spencer's, too. 

cawnlu
cawnlu

What we really need is a Gadzooks!!

engmofo
engmofo

The one in the cedars is pay to play

The one on Furgason is a POS full of what amounts to playground equipment

markzero
markzero

@RobX  find out who benefited financially from these deals and you know the other answers, too

engmofo
engmofo

This comment system BLOWS!

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

I haven't been on a skateboard since I was 13 years old, so I have no idea what makes a good skatepark.

engmofo
engmofo

What do you expect for 50?

engmofo
engmofo

That would be "...the toughest part about being a Rollerblader...."

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