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City of St. Petersburg Skate Park
Landscape Architecture by Booth Design Group

City of St. Petersburg Skate Park

Designed by Booth Design Group of St. Petersburg, Fla., the St. Petersburg Skate Park, located on the western coast of Florida, broke ground in June of 2017 after being approved by the city government in August of 2016.

The St. Petersburg Regional Skate Park is one of Florida's largest lighted public skate parks and is among the biggest in the southeastern United States. The $1.25 million-dollar project opened in May 2018 and occupies approximately two and a half acres in Campbell Park, just across highway 175 from Tropicana Field, home of the professional baseball team the Tampa Bay Rays.

There are two other skate parks in the St. Petersburg parks system, but local skaters wanted something bigger and with more options. In order to accommodate their desires, the park has features for all levels of skating, including: a street course, a 200' long snake run that drops from 2' to 7' deep, an intermediate bowl with a 5' to 8' change in depth, and a challenging 11'-9" deep vertical bowl. The street-style section includes rails, ledges, banks, stair sets, boxes and is an ideal area for beginners but also transitions seamlessly into the intermediate and advanced areas. The 'flow' of the skate park has received rave reviews from many renowned skaters like Eric Dressen and Jake Wooten, team riders for Santa Cruz Skateboards.

Booth Design Group, the lead landscape architects for the project, worked with Vickstrom Engineering and Team Pain Skate Parks on the design. Team Pain is a Florida-based skate park specialist group with successful skate parks around the world. Cutler Associates was the general contractor, and all four firms worked closely with the city of St. Petersburg during each phase of the construction and design processes. One of the most important aspects and ideologies behind the creation of the skate park was bringing in the surrounding community for input and updates. To do this the city held multiple community meetings to update and inform all stakeholders on the design and construction process. Additionally, this process also identified BMX riders and their concerns to ensure they were addressed.

The biggest concern for the design of the skate park was that the planners wanted the park to be like none other in the region. "We were fortunate with our site selection that we had large majestic oak trees to work around. After visiting other parks in the area, it became apparent that in the heat of the summer months that the parks were hard to skate due to the lack of shade," said landscape architect Hunter Booth. The oak trees became the cornerstone weaved through the design of the park to achieve that purpose. Other features include palm trees and shade structures.

City of St. Petersburg Skate Park

This is an early design sketch by Booth Design Group, Team Pain Skate Parks and Vickstrom Engineering Services, Inc. Close collaboration between the groups was key to the skate park's success. The park now boasts the deepest bowl in the southeastern region of the United States.

City of St. Petersburg Skate Park

The designers wanted to construct the skate park in a way that accommodated all skating levels, while being simultaneously all-inclusive and maintaining the flair and design that would attract showcases and competitions from across the country.

Designers also restored an existing restroom facility to bring it up to par with the new park.

Since the park was set adjacent to Booker Creek that runs through the downtown, the design firm had to create an infiltration pond area to receive all run-off from a 28,000 square foot facility to preserve water quality. The park also has a distinct St Petersburg flair with park benches, low maintenance landscaping, pedestrian lighting, and colorful tiled copings set amongst the backdrop of the rest of the amenities found within Campbell Park. An added benefit is the Musco Sports Lighting, which allows the facility to be used well into the evening.

Campbell Park includes a recreation center with baseball and football fields, tennis and basketball courts, playground, fitness area and a pool, but the project space was a simple green space, waiting for a use the community could rally around.

The skate park has been in the works since 2015 and broke ground in June 2017. Jay Turner and members of the St. Pete Skate Park Alliance came up with the idea and worked with city leaders to create one of the largest skate parks in Florida and the deepest vertical bowl in the southeastern region. The St. Petersburg Skate park Alliance formed as a nonprofit group to spearhead the idea of a permanent regional skate park that would serve the local skating community and also be a state-of-the-art facility that would draw skaters from outside the area and could also host all levels of competition.

City of St. Petersburg Skate Park

One of the design challenges faced by the team was that the site was relatively flat in beginning and the designers wanted to have differing level of bowls. "In order to do this, we had to bring up the site to achieve the desired effect, while still maintaining positive drainage," said Hunter Booth, lead landscape architect.

"This was one of the most successful projects I have been involved with in my 30 plus years with the city," said Steve Ochsner, ASLA, city engineering project manager. "To see the vision and the effort the Skate park Alliance put forth to bring this to reality was remarkable. They mobilized the stakeholders and lobbied the elected officials in a courteous, professional manner. It certainly took longer than they anticipated but I know they have no regrets about the outcome."

The city hopes it keeps kids entertained. Michelle Box is the executive director for the non-profit "Boards for Bros," which collects and gives out gently used skateboards. She said they've given out hundreds of boards to kids in the area around the new park.

City leaders expect the skate park to attract national events. It's strategically located less than a half-mile from a large hotel and is close to the downtown corridor.

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November 12, 2019, 5:03 pm PDT

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