Councilman Jim Kenney wants skateboarding back at Love Park
By the time Nocturnal skate shop owner Kerry “Hockey Temper” Getz kickflipped the Love Park fountain gap in 1996, it was already a rite of passage for professional skateboarders. From Jamie Thomas to Bam Margera, skateboarding’s biggest players all made Love a focal point in their skating journeys. Until 2002, that is, when the park closed for renovations and started vigorously enforcing skateboarding bans.
The fervor over Love’s smooth surfaces and grind-able ledges has died out ever so slightly, but you can still catch skaters on any sunny day. Now, as part of Love’s makeover, Councilman Jim Kenney wants to include some space for those skaters to do their thing—legally.
“If there was some possible way of putting that back with that element, with the Love statue and the iconic nature of that space, and the boarders back in a safe manner, I think it would be a home run,” Kenney said at a hearing today.
But with the $4.7 million Paine’s Park having opened only last year, Kenney’s suggestion seems to have fallen a little flat. At least to Parks and Recreation commissioner Mike DiBerardinis:
“Part of the thinking (for the new skatepark) was to really provide that opportunity in a high quality way to the broad skateboarding interest in the city,” Di Berardinis said.
Kenney, however, believes that returning skateboarding to one of the sport’s most iconic locales would raise the city’s image because it’s “where the international skateboard community wants to be photographed in Philadelphia.” But before you go thinking Councilman Kenney is an OG sk8-or-die type, he wants you to know that he’s “too old to figure out why” that’s the case.
Here’s to hoping, anyway. If not, we’ve always got FDR.