Dallas park proponents look to voters for new skateboard venues
It turns out, we can get along.
Fans of classic Boomer rock like the Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac and the dulcet tones of the Offspring and Blink 182 will join hands on the Dallas bond election in May.
The former is the domain of the crew that embraces pickleball, while the latter is more favored by those who love skateboarding. As things stand right now, the city’s parks and recreation ask for projects and improvements is $399 million, which includes $2.5 million for three skateparks, as well as $10 million for racquet facilities, which today simply means pickleball.
One finalized, the bond proposal is expected to come in at around $1 billion, broken into requests by city departments. Voters will vote on each separately. The bond project specifics will be finalized by January at the latest.
Some parks projects may drop off the list. But District 14 Park and Recreation Board member Rudy Karimi is bullish on his own passion project, a small skate park at the 14-acre Glencoe Park, just off I-75 and south of Mockingbird, a 15-minute walk from SMU’s campus.
Skaters, Karimi says, “are part of an underserved demographic” that runs between 13 and 18 years old.
"If they aren’t into tennis, pickleball or basketball, our parks don’t have anything for them," he says.
The proposed skate park allocation of $2.5 million – and remember, these figures and projects have not yet been finalized – would include $500,000 for the Glencoe Park project; $1 million for a skate park in Westmoreland Park in Oak Cliff; and $1 million to renovate the city’s lone skate park at Lakeland Hills, which opened in 2007.
While skate parks in the U.S. are relatively easy to find, Karimi contends that the city of Dallas, with only Lakeland Hills, has an “atrociously low” number of parks. Skaters can head to the north suburbs - Plano, Allen, and Frisco all have parks – but Dallas kids have no options.
Glencoe, he says, sits in a spot surrounded by over 1,000 homes that are within a 10-minute walk. The skate area would use part of an existing baseball field that most insist is rarely used, since sandlot baseball – the game sans adult supervision - has gone the route of the typewriter.
The skaters would be served in much the same way pickleballers have being served by the replacement of tennis courts at Cole Park.
“That park used to have eight full-sized tennis courts, but last year they took two out and put in six pickleball courts,” Karimi says. There are plans to take up more tennis courts in favor of pickleball space.
There's already a precedent for bond money funding a skatepark in Dallas: A skate park is under construction at Bachman Lake and will come online next year. It's being built with funds from the 2017 parks bond, approved by voters as a package but funded indirectly from discretionary money.
Which will make the request for skate parks a de facto referendum on recreation, as well as generation. The parks and rec pitch will likely be wrapped together, as it was in 2017, when voters okayed a $261 million outlay for parks department projects.
As assistant Parks and Recreation director Christina Turner-Noteware stated in September regarding the Parks and Recreation Department's request for parks projects in the 2024 bond: "Our $399,000,835 request is not a wish list ... it's a true list of needs," she said.