What Kind of Value Do Skateparks Bring to Your Community?
You can attract new residents to your community - and help current residents put down roots - by ensuring you have adequate youth community spaces. Skateparks are an example of a municipal initiative that benefits both residents and the economic development of your community.
The Downsides of Skateparks
We know what you’re thinking: skateparks mean you’ll get a whole bunch of complaints from concerned citizens who are worried about two things:
1. The Alleged Link to Crime:
There’s a misconception that skateparks are linked to crime but the actual correlation between crime and skateparks is hard to study. For example, one Skateociety article argues that cities with more skateparks - or cities that are skateboarding friendly - have less crime. But the article admits there are so many factors at play that it is difficult to say that skateparks are directly responsible for lower rates of crime. However, skateparks can reduce property damage, and keep kids off the streets and playing safe
A skatepark is a significant investment for any community. Building one can cost anywhere from $11,000 to $34,000 CAN per 1000 square feet.
The Upsides of Skateparks
Skateparks give youth something to do, at a place where they can develop a sense of community, which helps reduce lawlessness. Skateboarding is a popular sport and growing, as is BMX (bicycle motocross), and both offer a form of physical activity for youth who aren’t interested in traditional team sports. The truth is that skateboarding will happen regardless of the presence of a skatepark. A community that makes skating difficult or illegal only encourages more street skateboarding, which can cause accidents or unsafe behaviour. Without a skatepark to gather in, youth may be forced to play in the streets or find a way to make their own fun. Skateparks have been shown to reduce damage to public and private property.
2. Economic Benefits:
Skateparks create the need for relevant businesses, like skateboard shops, bringing new jobs and tax revenue to the community; skateparks help create new skateboard teaching and instructional jobs as well. The community can set up skateboard lessons and camps, which creates a win-win environment for the skaters, instructors, and community.
Also, a well-designed skatepark can attract out-of-town visitors, who spend money within the community. And, best of all, a public skatepark shows that the community is invested in its younger citizens, which helps convince people to move to the community, or to work there, or just to visit and spend money.
How to Know If Your Community Would Value a Skatepark
At the end of the day, “to skatepark or not to skatepark” is really the choice of your community. If you think skateparks can benefit your community, use the benefits above to pitch the idea to residents and council. Then you can use MDB Insight’s polling platforms to see if your campaign is having an effect on public opinion; plus you can help residents have more informed opinions about the cost of a new skatepark.
Citizen Satisfaction IQ™ is an opinion polling platform that gives incredibly accurate market research about the community’s feelings towards a potential skatepark in their area, and the Tax Sensitivity Calculator™ shows taxpayers how a new community development, such as a skatepark, will affect their taxes. This allows them to be more informed about the cost of the issue, and gives you an even better idea of how badly a community wants a skatepark. The kids are certainly alright, but only accurate data can tell you if their skatepark will be.
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