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With groundbreaking of Paine's Park, Philly positioned to again capture skateboarders' attention

The wait is over.

Paine's Park
, the $4.5 million, 2.5 acre mixed-use skatepark/plaza along the Parkway, officially broke ground last week. This park has long been heralded for its grass roots collaboration with high levels of government; its unique, sustainable design meant to accommodate both pedestrians and skaters; and because it is considered to be the first open space in the country designed specifically with skateboarders in mind.  But with high profile attention already coming to the Park, (the Tony Hawk Foundation recently donated $25,000 for construction purposes), organizers are setting goals high for its future.
“We want to bring national and international events to Paine's Park,” says Claire Laver with the nonprofit Franklin’s Paine Skatepark Fund. “Thanks to Philly’s well organized skateboarding community in conjunction with the well-oiled Philadelphia Sports Congress, we have a lot going for us to achieve our goals.”
To this end, Laver says the park is built for large events – one of the main features of the new space is an amphitheater that seats 300 people and can accomodate up to 3,000 with portable bleachers. She says the permanence of these features is what will draw international and national event organizers.  “We can cut out a lot of the red tape that national organizers face when putting their events together.”   
Laver and others have their eyes set on large events like the X Games, which came to Philly in 2001 and 2002 but has not come back since.  But she also expects the Park will be perfect for smaller venues. 
“The first annual ‘Philly Cup Skateboard Series’ was held at various sites across the City," says Laver. "In the future, we expect Paine's Park will be utilized for this event as well as other amateur and local events put together by the large skating community here in Philly.”     
While no events have officially signed on to utilize the new space, Laver expects big announcements like these will come with time, especially once the Park opens and people clearly see its design and associated possibilities.    
The Park will undergo two phases of construction, taking a typical break during cold winter months.  It will be completed by May, 2013.

Source: Claire Laver, Franklin's Paine Skatepark Fund
WriterGreg Meckstroth
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