Skate park planned at Lincoln Junior High in Skokie
Skokie-Morton Grove School District 69 President Terri Lefler presents plans for a new skate park in Skokie at Lincoln Junior High School. She appeared Monday before the Skokie Village Board. | By Mike Isaacs~Sun-Times Media
SKOKIE SKATE PARK
Where: Lincoln Junior High School, 7839 Lincoln Ave.
When: Construction could begin late summer of early fall
Who: The project is a combined effort by the Skokie Park District, School District 69 and the village.
Updated: July 23, 2012 6:29AM
A new skate park is being planned for outside Skokie-Morton Grove School District’s 69’s Lincoln Junior High School.
The project is a joint effort among the Skokie Park District, District 69 and the village.
“The Skate Park would serve the ever-growing interest in skateboarding activities, particularly in the middle school youth of the community,” said Tom Thompson, Skokie’s economic development coordinator.
District 69 will provide the land for the park, the Park District will design it and the village will provide the funding. On Monday, village Trustees approved up to $250,000 from its downtown tax increment finance fund to help pay for the park.
Park District Executive Director Mark Schneiderman said that without a skate park, the entire village becomes the skate park. Village officials concurred.
“Currently, such activity takes place in a variety of settings including parks, streets and sidewalks throughout town, and in a disturbing fashion on the Village Green between the Village Hall and the Skokie Public Library,” Thompson said.
Schneiderman call skating “an incredibly popular activity for youths and young adults.”
“We feel that a skate park is something that is highly desirable in our community,” Schneiderman said. “If you have a design skate park, which is what we intend to do, a lot of injuries that skaters have are greatly reduced.”
Lincoln Junior High students were involved in the planning process for the design of the park although Park District officials say a public hearing will be scheduled as well. The kids went to skate parks in Deerfield, Highland Park and Northbrook with planners to help make tentative design decisions.
“They have been very engaged and enthusiastic about the whole process,” said Terri Lefler, District 69 Board president. “By their feedback, it sounds like it will be a very popular space.”
Protective gear would be required for skaters, but planners were candid in saying that many of them don’t use it. Schneiderman said the injury rate for skaters is comparable to other sports.
“Park districts that have these in their communities are not really experiencing the kind of injuries that everybody initially thought there would be when a skate park was built,” he said.
The park would be unsupervised but the requirement for protective gear would be posted in the rules.
“They’re not really into it, unfortunately,” said Michelle Tuft, the park district’s superintendent of recreation.
How the community will react to a skate park at Lincoln Junior High remains to be seen, but one parent, Patty O’Malley, voiced some early concern.
“I do not oppose a skateboard park in Skokie, but I have a serious question as to why it’s going to be placed on school property,” she said. “And why at this time we can’t look at renovating another park.”
A three-party intergovernmental agreement will be drawn up, and Schneiderman said construction on the park could begin in late summer or fall if all goes according to plan.