City, skaters work together to open new DIY skate park in East Lawrence
Nearly two years after the Lawrence Skaters Association’s do-it-yourself skate park in East Lawrence was torn down for lacking city permits, the group has built a replacement — one that has the city’s seal of approval.
Members of LSA worked with Lawrence Parks and Recreation to get proper approvals for the park after their original DIY skate park was dismantled in 2016.
“This type of relationship is really rare,” LSA member Nicholas Ward said. “DIY parks usually exist in an illegal framework.”
In addition to working with city officials, the LSA reached out to neighborhood associations during the park’s development to ensure that the park was “in the best interest of everybody,” Ward said.
“This (skate park) has been very collaborative,” Parks and Recreation Director Derek Rogers said. “They’ve gone through the process, they’ve done it right.”
The park, located on an old basketball court in Edgewood Park in East Lawrence, had a kickoff event Friday. The location provides lighting at night and shade during the day, making it safe for skaters. Edgewood DIY is the city’s only park east of Iowa Street, Ward said.
“There was nowhere for youth to skateboard legally on the east side of town,” Ward said. “And now, because of Edgewood DIY, there is.”
LSA plans to partner with the Lawrence Douglas County Housing Authority’s Youth Program to hold workshops at the park, teaching participants how to build their own skateboards with supplies provided by LSA.
“Usually a skateboard is $150,” Ward said. “So if you’re a kid and you don’t have money or you come from a low-income situation, being able to have a skateboard for free is a pretty big deal.”
Right now, the park has two ramps that took a week for LSA members to build. LSA is hosting a fundraiser on Aug. 25 at Replay Lounge to raise money for more ramps. Contributions to the group can also be made on the LSA Facebook and Instagram pages.