Features

Austin PARD Skatepark

We all know boys can be clueless puds, especially when they are in an arena where their perceived manhood is tested. And nothing tests a 17-year-old's manhood like seeing a girl whomping ass on the ramps at the skatepark. The survival instinct in such young men seems to require that they ridicule and intimidate skategirls with such a vindictive strain of meanspiritedness that if any ramp-whomping happens, the girl's fun is canceled out by defensiveness, nervousness, or plain ol' shitty vibrations.

The Austin Parks & Recreation Department's Skatepark can, indeed, be just such an arena, but program supervisor Cindy Wade would like nothing more than to see things change. Previously located at West Austin Park, a few miles from the Austin Recreation Center (ARC), the park is currently being moved next to the tennis courts at ARC (1301 Shoal Creek, off of 12th Street, near House Park). The new park will be for the use of skateboards and rollerblades exclusively; no bikes allowed. To facilitate the quick turnaround and an early summer opening, the park's surface will be blacktop, and the existing ramps from the old park will be moved to the new spot. Further down the line, Wade sees possibilities for a resurfacing with concrete. This, of course, depends upon availability of funds.

The price of admission is a cheap $1 per visit. Monthlong passes are available for $10. At the new ARC location, it will be much easier to monitor the skate community to make sure everyone is having fun.

It really is a cool place, with lots of challenging obstacles to be mastered from morning till dusk for very little money. The basic rules are common sense (yes to helmets, no to smoking, drinking, drugs), and it's open year-round. Wade would love to have an all-girls day, if that's what was necessary to bring girls in. As she says, If there was a demand from girls, we'd be open to pretty much anything.

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