Effort Underway to Bring a Skate Park to Kennett Square
By Steven Hoffman
An effort is underway to bring a skate park to Kennett Square because there is currently no place in the community for people who like to skateboard to pursue the increasingly popular activity.
A petition supporting a skate park for Kennett Square on change.org has already been signed by nearly 2,300 people as of Tuesday afternoon, and a group of local residents has been working to build support for the initiative.
Alec Ullman, a Kennett Square Borough resident, explained that a few years ago, he and a few other kids around his same age started skateboarding. Month after month, the number of people who would come out to skateboard grew and grew. “We were looking for something to do,” Ullman explained. “We picked up skateboarding as a hobby.” Ullman and other skateboarders in the Kennett Square area quickly discovered, however, that there are few places in the community where people can enjoy the activity. The skateboarders move from place to place, skateboarding in one location for as long as they are allowed before moving on to the next spot.
What the community needs, Ullman said, is a dedicated skate park like ones in West Chester or Wilmington or Newark in Delaware. Many of the skateboarders who live in the Kennett Square area are too young to drive and can’t make the 40-minute trek to those locations. “We decided to start a petition to see what kind of support is out there,” Ullman said.
He took the lead in writing the petition, which outlined the need that exists for a skateboard park.
Ullman wrote, “In the Kennett Square area, there is a bounty of recreational activities from parks to pools to various courts and fields for sports and other activities of the sort. Yet there are a couple of areas in the recreational field that aren't necessarily covered in the preexisting projects. The main goal of this petition is to get support for a local skatepark for activities such as skateboarding, scootering, rollerblading, and BMX.”
Ullman said that the skateboarding community is very caring and positive, and he has made some good friends while enjoying a sport that he loves. Ullman said that communities can show their support for young people by making sure that there are safe places where they can pursue the activities that they enjoy. Ullman believes that there are a lot of people who see value in bringing a skate park to Kennett Square.
He explained that skateboarding is a very healthy activity, and it’s one that people can enjoy even during a pandemic. At a time when children often spend far too much time playing video games, skateboarding is an interesting and active alternative. Skateboarders can challenge themselves by always working to improve their skills, Ullman said, and the sport also offers freedom to participants—they can do it on their own or in small groups.
Ullman said that, in his friend group alone, there are at least 25 people who skate regularly. There are at least another 50 people in the area who regularly participate in the sport. Ullman said that the popularity of skateboarding is only going to increase in the future. Skateboarding was supposed to make its debut in the summer Olympics in 2020 before the games were postponed to 2021. The increased exposure in the Olympics is likely to increase the popularity of the sport.
Ullman added that, as the Kennett Square area’s population continues to grow, there will be more and more kids and teens who need a place to skateboard. He said that the effort to bring a skateboard park to the area is for the next generation of kids as much as it is for anyone who currently skateboards in Kennett Square. He knows that some of the people who will support the effort now will be moving on to college or the next stage in life by the time a skateboard park could be built in this area.
Ullman said that skateboarding is fun, and the activity often appeals to people who might not be naturally suited to a team sport or to a sport where coaches are heavily involved. Skateboarders tend to be more individualistic, he said. And for some people, if they can’t skateboard, there are few other healthy and safe options for them to pursue in the community.
Without a skate park, Ullman said, some people will stop skating altogether, while others will skate in the streets or parking lots around town because they have no other option—and that’s not always safe for skateboarders or for others. “These kids are also at a higher risk of injury from external factors such as cars, cracks, and are more likely to interfere with the life of other citizens,” Ullman wrote in the petition.