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Ohio State boarders rail against skate park removal

April 17, 2014

ditirro.4@osu.edu
OSU’s only campus skate park ‘Campus Ramps’ is set to be replaced with student recreation areas. Deconstruction on the park has already began. Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editor

OSU’s only campus skate park, ‘Campus Ramps,’ is set to be replaced with student recreation areas. Deconstruction on the park has already began.
Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editor

The demolition of Ohio State’s only campus skate park could drive boarders to the main campus area, something one skater said could be dangerous and cause property damage.

Some are fighting the decision that was made to replace the skate park with soccer fields, saying the existing fields aren’t used often enough to warrant creating more.

The skate park, “Campus Ramps,” located off of Kenny Road between Woody Hayes Drive and Kinnear Road, is set to be replaced by fall 2014 with student recreation areas, specifically two new soccer fields.

OSU Student Life spokesman Dave Isaacs said Tuesday the ramp removal had begun and the skate park is already being deconstructed.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the skate park appeared to be nearly completely demolished.

But two skateboarders who frequent the ramp — Kyle Decot, a web application developer for the College of Arts and Sciences Technology Services, and Josh Suh, president of the OSU Skateboarding Club — aren’t giving up hope. They said they are set to meet with an OSU Recreational Sports representative Friday morning, and Decot said he plans to bring a petition he started against the demolition.

Isaacs said the OSU community could benefit from the park being replaced.

“In taking a close look at our facilities and how they are used, we found the skate park to a great extent was not being used by Ohio State University students,” Isaacs said, adding that it was being used more by the Columbus community.

That the park wasn’t being highly used was noted by Recreational Sports, and the decision to close the skate park was approved by a board of students and faculty serving on the university’s Recreational Sports committee.

The construction of the new fields in the park’s place would allow for 64 additional soccer teams to participate in intramurals each semester. The ramps are set to be donated to the city of Wilmington, Ohio, roughly 60 miles from Columbus, Isaacs said.

“This was a fully thought-out decision, and we recognize whenever there is a change of this nature, people will not be pleased by it,” Isaacs said.

Ryan Shaw, a second-year in dance and education, plays intramural soccer with his fraternity. He said there is a need for more fields.

“There aren’t enough soccer fields to facilitate the number of people that are interested in soccer,” he said.

The project, though, has some members of the campus skateboarding community, like Decot and Suh, upset about the decision.

Decot said he began skateboarding at age 11 and that the sport shaped him into the person he is today.

“I saw so much good come out of skate parks. It was a fun place for kids to hang out, it was safe and the kids weren’t on the streets,” Decot said.

The 27-year-old, who says he went to Campus Ramps almost every day, said he started looking into what was happening to the skate park when he noticed ramps were starting to be torn down.

“There were 12 or 15 ramps and the numbers were dwindling, one or two would kind of disappear every so often,” Decot said.

Decot said he decided to take a stand for the sport and start a petition to prevent the demolition of Campus Ramps.

The Change.org petition, titled “Don’t close the OSU Skatepark,” had more than 1,350 signatures from supporters as of Wednesday evening. Decot said he never imagined the support the petition would garner.

“Some skateboarding groups and blogs have shared my petition and people are signing it from all over the country,” Decot said.

Campus Ramps served as a safe place for campus boarders to ride and for children and teenagers in the Columbus area to be active, Suh said.

“The boarders vary in age at the skate park. There are kids and older guys who have been skating their whole lives. The older guys usually mentor the younger kids and teach them tricks,” Suh said.

Suh, a third-year in biology, said a substantial portion of the OSU student body participates in extreme sports, enough to justify keeping the skate park.

Decot said typically when he goes to Campus Ramps, there are more than 25 skateboarders there.

Suh said the OSU Skateboarding club holds its weekly meetings at Campus Ramps and that the removal of the skate park would be inconvenient for his group.

“It’s a great location, it’s right on campus and a lot of students don’t have cars and they can’t drive to any other skate parks,” Suh said. “Obviously, as a skateboarder, it would be really sad for me to see it go.”

Suh and Decot said the removal of the park could encourage boarders to come more frequently onto campus to skateboard, which could be dangerous for boarders and pedestrians and could damage campus properties.

“A part that OSU does not see is that they think that skateboarders will go to another skate park, which is not necessarily true. They are going to go onto campus,” Decot said.

Skateboarding is prohibited on certain parts of OSU’s campus, like the Oval, where a “Walk Zone” policy was implemented in Fall 2013 and offenders can be written citations by officers.

“I would like for OSU to embrace skateboarding and give us a really good park and put money into it, like they do for other sports,” Decot said.

Student Life has no cost estimate for the renovation. Isaacs said the cost should not be great because the plan is to add grass fields over the skate park and re-seeding the area.


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Comments (10)

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  1. Anon says:

    If I used the skate park, I’d be pretty upset too. Personally, I think all of the former patrons should just use the stairs, ramps, and rails around the RPAC for practice and socializing. Yes, there are signs proclaiming that area to be “skate-free” but OSU is going just a bit too far by removing recreational options and replacing them with something else that not everyone is interested in.

    I thought the same thing when the basketball courts outside of Lincoln Tower were removed for steam tunnel construction, and never replaced, along with the basketball courts on North Campus which are now the staging yard for the North Campus Obnoxious waste of money… I mean… Residential District transformation blah blah blah…

    The students need to speak out. They can speak out not only with voices, but wallets too. Boycott the RPAC fee. Why should you pay a fee when your preferred physical activities aren’t being offered anymore? Soon it seems like everyone on campus will have to join an intramural soccer league. Interested in baseball? Have we got a soccer team for you!

  2. Tom Brown says:

    1) The University is not obligated to provide for every sport known to mankind, especially when the population that participates in a given sport was incredibly disrespectful and destructive to the previous facility.

    2) The Lincoln Tower courts were replaced. They are off of the northwest corner of the RPAC.

    3) The North Campus project is waste? I guess the University isn’t allowed to build for the future?

  3. Ryan Martin says:

    Why demolish the ramps? There are a handful of people who would have gladly taken the lead to deconstruct and move the ramps somewhere else, especially considering some of them were donated to the park by enthusiasts. Demolishing them is a waste and kind of a slap in the face.

  4. Ryan Martin says:

    Also, Tom Brown, you’re absolutely right, the university is not obligated to provide to fans of every sport. The difference is the skatepark was usually maintained by volunteer hands. The university wasn’t providing anything but the space, to my knowledge.

    As far as disrespect goes, I’m sure you’ve been on campus to witness the aftermath of OSU football loses.

    In my over 4 years as a student I paid a lot of fees for things that didn’t pertain to me so that other people could enjoy those privileges, should I be asking for a refund?

    The fact of the matter is skateboarding, BMX, and the other sports people enjoyed at this park aren’t making anyone any money. Maybe the concrete wall at the park needed a huge Coca Cola banner.

  5. John Vance says:

    I find it selfish, greedy and downright laughable that students are saying there aren’t enough soccer fields on campus. There must be hundreds of acres of valuable campus real estate devoted to that sport, yet they claim they need even more space?

    I also agree with Ryan. Most of that skate park was self-maintained and constructed. Ohio State’s stance on the importance of the park became evident when they started removing ramps because people were tagging them; a move that I thought was ridiculous. When basketball courts, park benches or other “conventional” recreational facilities get vandalized, the powers that be don’t destroy those facilities or take them away, they fix them.

    The idea that they assumed that the same people tagging the ramps must be the same people using them is insulting and simply playing on stereotypes.

    There are plenty of respectful adults (many of which are students or alumni) that used that park all the time.

  6. sam says:

    The argument that it was used by non-students is such crap. Nearly all the outdoor basketball courts around campus aren’t used by students, you don’t see them ripping those out.

  7. JC says:

    The idea of removing the ramps was floated around to other committee besides Rec Sports, as I recall, and the pitch was that they were an eyesore. I don’t recall the committee I was on when it was briefly discussed, but I asked if anyone had taken the time to actually survey the participants on the value of the park, demographics, and possible alternatives.
    Doesn’t appear like that happened.
    So, what’s the point of being an R1 institution when we won’t even take the simplest approach to researching our own needs and wants on campus?
    This is just more bully tactics from planners that convince students who don’t have any experience with skate parks that this was a blight and nuisance, with zero actual evidentiary data.
    I’m really sorry they did this you you all.

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  9. Ralph DiSanto - Alumni says:

    A few points and questions.
    1. University Hospital’s, Ohio Stadium, Schottenstein Center, Wexner Center and most businesses bordering campus are used predominantly by non-students.
    2. The small amount of area taken up by the skate park did not equate to the area needed for a soccer field, especially when there is plenty of room in the adjacent field. Only half of the area of the park was used for the ramps and park.
    3. I assume the Metal ramp is what ended up in the City of Wilmington. I assume it was too much trouble to donate it in The Columbus metro area. How did it end up down there?
    4. The park would have been more attractive if the University would have built a concrete park like many Ohio Communities, possibly this will happen some day.

  10. Howard Thornton says:

    My daughter is the #1 6th grade point guard in the country. But she loves skateboarding more than hoops. When she played in Tennessee she fell on love with there concrete park. She is a Buckeye to heart, but with the way they treat their skaters I might lose my baby to the SEC.

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