New York, NY. In honor of tomorrows’ Go Skateboarding Day, the official holiday that celebrates skateboarding, Architecture for Humanity and NIKE are pleased to announce the next Gamechangers grant recipient, Steve Rodriguez (founder of 5boro Skateboards in NYC), and plans to revitalize the Manhattan Bridge Skatepark in New York City. Given its proximity to popular downtown skate spots, and the recent closing of the Brooklyn Banks, it has become the skatepark of choice for many skateboarders and home to numerous skateboarding events. It is time to create a world-class venue for the best skaters in New York City.
Through the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation’s Adopt-A-Park program, the Gamechangers grant will adopt & transform Coleman Oval Park into a destination place for both local and international skateboarders. The Gamechangers grant will completely revamp and literally reramp the park in partnership with the local and skate communities. The skatepark is located within the diverse neighborhood (East Village, Lower East Side, parts of Chinatown), serving approximately 172,000 residents, 17% of whom are under the age of 18. Coleman Oval Park provides a much needed place for recreation in a neighborhood with little green or open space. The skatepark attracts youth from all five boroughs, the tri-state area, as well as out of state and international visitors to the area. Improvements to the park will come from Gamechangers Sports Micro-Venture Fund.
The Gamechangers Sports Micro-Venture Fund, a partnership between Architecture for Humanity and NIKE, is a revolving grants program that funds the design and construction of innovative, sustainable, and safe places to play and gather. The fund has supported dozens of sports programs around the world – from Argentina to China to Haiti to Kenya.
In 2009, the fund supported the construction of Skateistan, an indoor skatepark in Kabul, Afghanistan. After two years in the making the skatepark, Kabuls' largest indoor sports facility, stands as a testament to a group of dedicated individuals who believe in the power of sports to create social change. Skateistan is the world's first co-ed skateboarding school. It engages urban and internally-displaced youth through skateboarding while providing them with new opportunities in cross-cultural interaction, education, and personal empowerment programs. Skateistan is also taking part in Go Skateboarding Day – connecting skaters from Kabul to New York City.
Over the summer 2011 Architecture for Humanity will host several community based forums within the park and surrounding community to discuss how to rebuild the skatepark. This project will break ground in the fall of 2011.
For more information on the Manhattan Bridge Skatepark Rebuild and for regular updates click here.
Check out Steve Rodriguez discussing some design ideas with local skaters: