Baltimore City shelved plans to build a 9,000-square-foot skatepark in Easterwood, a predominantly Black neighborhood in West Baltimore, and will instead fund new basketball courts and walking paths, Billy Jean Louis reports for the Baltimore Sun.
There are currently no other skateparks in West Baltimore or in any predominantly Black neighborhoods in Baltimore. The nearest are over three miles away in Carroll Park and Hampden.
Why did the city decide to forego the skatepark?
Plans for the skatepark originated in 2018, when West Baltimore community activist, Marvin L. “Doc” Cheatham, and Stephanie Murdock, president and founder of nonprofit group Skatepark of Baltimore, partnered with the city’s recreation and parks department.
Though some Easterwood residents support the construction of the skatepark, others pushed for improvements to the park’s existing facilities and additional fitness opportunities, according to the Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks’ director, Reginald Moore.
Skatepark proponents assembled at City Hall to protest the city’s decision on Monday. Also on Monday, the Baltimore Brew published an op-ed by Murdock and West Baltimore skateboarder, Sosii Brown, in which Brown said, “This is the plight of the Black skater. Having to take risks just to find a place to skate. Having nowhere to skate in our own neighborhoods. Nowhere to gain a sense of acceptance. Nowhere to be around like-minded individuals.”
Anything else I should know?
Officials originally announced the suspension of the skatepark construction in June, and the parks department discussed it again at a meeting in July.
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