Visual Statement: A haven for Ann Arbor's skateboarding scene

By Nicholas Williams, Daily Staff Photographer
Published October 9, 2012

Being a skateboarder is tough. Learning tricks and having balance doesn't come easily to many people.

But it's particularly difficult to be a skater in Ann Arbor. The nearest skate park is miles away, and it's illegal to be on a skateboard in the majority of the city. Fines for skateboarding can reach up to $150 and skaters' boards can be confiscated. Campus police, Ann Arbor police and private security constantly kick skaters out of parking lots, alleyways and parking garages.

To give their community a more centralized place to skate, a few local skateboarders have begun building their own ramps for themselves and friends to enjoy, constructing secluded ramps in their backyards or at abandoned tennis courts like the ones at Ypsilanti’s Prospect Park.

But with word that the Ann Arbor Skate Park is due to break ground this spring at Veterans Memorial Park, it looks like skateboarding in the city will soon be easier. Recently, $852,000 was raised through private donations and grants – as well as a matching grant from Washtenaw County – that has allowed for pre-planning and designing to begin. According to Diana Kern, the fundraising chair of the Friends of Ann Arbor Skatepark, the park will be constructed by summer 2013.

This skatepark is going to change the Ann Arbor skateboarding scene. It will provide the thing that all skateboarders have been yearning for in the city, a place where they are accepted and allowed to practice the sport they love.