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Crooked River Skate Park Joins Growing Riverfront Recreation District Along the Cuyahoga

Neighborhood Ohio City | Issue Winter 2014-2015 | Author Land Studio Staff

Rendering of the shade feature at Crooked River Skate Park

 

The Crooked River Skate Park is the newest addition to a growing, people-powered recreation district along the Cuyahoga River. Situated on the Columbus Road Peninsula near Rivergate Park, the Ohio City Bicycle Co-Op and the Cleveland Rowing Foundation, the Crooked River skate park is uniquely designed in response to the rugged industrial feel of the Cuyahoga River Valley.

Working closely with partners Grindline Skateparks, Inc., Public Square Group, and the City of Cleveland, LAND studio engaged the community in creating a dynamic vision for an urban skate park that would add a unique new element to the growing recreation center along the Cuyahoga. Members of Cleveland’s skateboarding community, which boasts a large artist contingent, gave their blessing on concepts and designs throughout the process.

This is the first real concrete skate park in Cleveland,” said Vince Frantz, Executive Director of Public Square Group, a non-profit dedicated to supporting skateboarding, art and civics in Northeast Ohio. “While most other major cities have created public skate parks, this is the start of Cleveland and the downtown neighborhoods embracing a skateboarding culture that has been a strong force in the city for decades. The park will help activate another part of the city by serving skaters and families both regionally and downtown.”

Shade structure, alternate view

Shade structure, alternate view

 

A unique feature of the skate park is its public art element, a playful shade structure. The design process identified shade as a highly desirable element for skaters. With a nod to the historic industrial riverfront setting, the nearly forty-foot wide, eight foot tall shade structure was designed by Cleveland-based designer Dru Mckeown of TOI studio, and playfully recalls the shipping containers that travel down the Cuyahoga River. The skate park covers 15,000 feet across a Kidney Bowl basin and features a favorite of the skating community – a “snake run,” which is a long winding path with various grades and turns.

Frantz sees the interplay of art and skating as essential to the sport. “Skateboarding has had a large influence on art and culture in the past 50 years, he explained. “It’s a form of public art that evolved out of the unused spaces in cities and has led many children to develop an appreciation of image, form and space – without knowing it at first, fostering a natural interest in creative endeavors that lasts through adulthood.” Frantz believes that Crooked River Skate Park’s unique design and location will provide inspiration for many local artists today and inspire a new generation for tomorrow.

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