Skateboard spot proposed for Woodside park

Photo: One skateboarder tore it up in front of the Silver Spring regional center last summer. Credit: Kim Bieler.

Photo: One skateboarder tore it up in front of the Silver Spring regional center last summer. Credit: Kim Bieler.

MoCo’s planners propose to throw down a temporary skateboarding spot just north of Silver Spring’s central business district, they announced Friday afternoon.

The “skate spot” will sit in what used to be a tennis court at the Woodside Urban Park on Georgia Avenue and Spring Street, sandwiched between the park’s basketball courts and gymnasium. The 3,000 square-foot spot will have “street-style obstacles” like concrete ledges and embankments for boarders to skim.

“The new skate spot will provide youth in the community with better and enhanced play opportunities,” read a planning department newsletter being snail mailed to area residents.

Preliminary plans for the skate spot are already cooking and will be open to sidewalk shredders by January 2010, the newsletter predicted. The temporary spot could become permanent if residents feel it’s a good fit for the park’s overall renovation. Public meetings will be held on the subject in the next few months, the newsletter read.

A playground near First Avenue is also slated for renovations, planners announced. It’s not known whether that work will close the playground temporarily, or when the work will wrap.

Photo courtesy of Kim Bieler.

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23 Responses to “Skateboard spot proposed for Woodside park”

  1. buzz says:

    Save the tennis court. Put the skatepark where the exploding beer can now stands. Anything there would be a visual improvement.

  2. Jong says:

    How many tennis courts are there in relation to the number of skateparks? How busy is that tennis court? I’ll bet a skatepark would get much more use by more people.

  3. brh says:

    Agree with Jong… I love tennis, I love how many courts we have in the area, and I haven’t skated in years… But there really are plenty of courts in the area, and not so many skate spots… I’m down with this.

  4. carlos says:

    I agree with would be a great spot since it is out of the congested business area. Hope the kids behave and don’t upset the residents with bad behavior.

  5. chris says:

    Great idea. I think multiple small skate spots is a great idea. One spot may get too crowded. Using materials that won’t wear or scar from the plastic rails on the skate boards. I am worried about the liability to the county. Can you just make it a spot that has many skateboard friendly features? Then post emergency information for the kids to call when they get hurt. Getting hurt is part of being a skate boarder/kid.

  6. Terry in Silver Spring says:

    Great idea! Give the skateboarders interesting and well built places build for their sport/activity.

  7. Gary says:

    There is a website that says “If your city doesn’t have a skateboard park, your city is a skateboard park”. Silver Spring needs a place for the kids to skateboard so they don’t destroy downtown.

  8. LuvMyHood says:

    What worries me is that a tennis court can be used for things other than tennis if no one is playing. But a skateboard park sounds like it would only be for that one activity. I wish we could have “floating” skateboard parks. One Sat. evening I was walking on the N side of Colseville Rd, between Ga. & East-West. I had to get down on the lower sidewalk, next to the street, because the brick one was full of skateboarders. Why not set up some ramps on such evenings? Of course this would take humans, which cost $. We would rather build something and let it sit there than pay people to to something that might be more useful.

  9. Kathy J says:

    Luv – maybe could combine your two ideas and use tennis courts during certain hours with moveable ramps and equipment — at other hours leave for tennis. Certainly is worth a trial.

    Since I see the enclosed tennis courts in the park closest to me used as an illegal off-leash dog run during early eve hours and on weekends, I’m betting that not much tennis is being played there regualrly – if at all.

  10. LuvMyHood says:

    Kathy, I have not seen dogs in tennis courts. But I understand some people use tennis courts as enclosed areas where their toddlers can run around.
    But you and I are making the same point.
    Also, I encounter skateboarders all over the place, and unless it is a bunch at once (like that sidewalk incident) I think they are fine. What is wrong with the skateboarder in the photo at the top, for example? That hardscape “park” is useless for sitting in, unless you are a spy meeting your contact, discussing your secret plans over the traffic roar. Skateboarders are often blamed for breaking things, but I want to see the hard evidence. There is a bandit quality to the activity, and most skateboarders seem very graceful. If I were younger I would be out there with them!

  11. tj says:

    Skateboarders deserve a permanent home. I worry that the nimbys will come up with some lame excuse during the public hearing on why it wouldn’t be a good idea to have the skate spot. I hope that the skateboarders attend the public meeting and have their voices heard.

  12. NoGnusIsGoodGnus says:

    LMH, skateboarders like the one in the picture grinding on the concrete cause damage; the concrete’s not made to tolerate it and the edges crumble and break. If you walk around town, look for black marks and wear on the corners of raised concrete for evidence. Graceful or not, they damage the structure.

    Wish I could find an empty tennis court when I want one… the ones in my neck of the woods are always being used.

  13. brh says:

    Kathy, I see that going on at Bullis park with some regularity, as well as what LuvMyHood mentions. Not really what the courts are for, as they generally state on them… Also makes it awkward when you want to use them for, well, tennis.

    I agree that the skateboarders seem pretty respectful around here. But it’d still be nice to acknowledge them, give them their own space. Not all skaters like doing curbs & rails…

  14. Saucy says:

    I love the skate park idea, but people should be aware that they can be loud. I’ve heard there have been problems in Mt. Rainier with this issue. By all means, let’s have the skate park, but a sound barrier should be part of the plans.

  15. tj says:

    Loud? I pass skate boarders all the time and they are not loud at all. The nimby talk has officially begun.

    Editor’s note: Play nice. — JD (Oct 21, 2009)

  16. LuvMyHood says:

    Hey, NoGnusIsGoodGnus, thanks for enlightening me about the concrete damage. However, it also makes me wonder if the existing structures could be modified to withstand the skateboarding. The park in the picture seems almost useless — at least that is my impression from walking past it many times, and trying to sit in it occasionally. Contract workers could sit on the benches and gobble lunch, but the traffic noise and wind would make it most unpleasant. Modifying such a hardscape “pocket park” to withstand skateboarding would provide some skateboard park space, without taking park space from other uses.

  17. Saucy says:

    It isn’t the skateboarders per se that make the noise, it’s the fact that concrete can create amplified echoes. Skate parks are perfect for generating this acoustic phenomenon. If the area is open enough, it might not be a concern–any sound engineer should be able to discern the extent of the issue. MoCo should hire one in advance.

    TJ, it isn’t nimby to suggest that actual design concerns should be addressed up front. Again, I support the project–I’d just like to see MoCo do it right and be aware of the attendant issues. Doing so should help to reduce neighbors’ opposition to projects like this in the long run.

  18. silverspringskater says:

    i skate at woodside park all the time and i have not once seen anyone using the tennis courts. think this is a good idea and hope they keep it there. almost all of the skaters i know just want somewhere to skate and wont try to abuse the park or neighborhood in any way

  19. Steve says:

    Sure as hell makes it easier to tase and arrest all them skateboarders when they’re in one place!

  20. 710roeder says:

    If this will keep skateboarders off the sidewalks, I’m all for it.

  21. SkaterMom says:

    I’m a 48 year old mom and an avid skateboarder. There is currently no place in Silver Spring where skateboarding is legal — we get kicked out everywhere we go. I know virtually all of the kids who skate here, and for the most part they’re really good kids. But they’re regularly harassed and threated, and sometimes even grabbed (completely illegally), by various security guards, and just generally treated terribly. I’m not surprised that some of them have developed bad attitudes — there’s a reason for that.

    The kid in the picture is an exceptionally talented young man, but I was with him one day when he was skating that exact same spot, and he got screamed at and threatened by a very nasty security guard for skating there — even though police officers have suggested we skate there (instead of skating Discovery.)

    As silverspringskater mentioned, I’ve never seen a single person play tennis in Woodside Park. Moving “skate spots” around is not a workable solution because the current trend in skateboarding is not ramps but concrete elements such as ledges, stairs, and embankments.

    Skateboarding has a powerfully positive influence in many kids’ lives, and it keeps their bodies moving and keeps them out of trouble. Silver Spring should be encouraging kids to skate, and I’m happy to finally see some movement in that direction.

  22. SkaterMom says:

    Howard County got it right — by actually listening to their community’s kids: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKVLaonwtdE

  23. SilverSpringskater says:

    Not only should this be built but it should be a free park. Of course helmets mandatory but it should be free.



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