Guest View: Skate park would benefit local youths
The city of South Lake Tahoe sits next to Stateline, which houses large casinos and an abundance of adult-style entertainment for the area. Many people would like facilities in South Lake Tahoe that can compensate for this by drawing the youths of our community to amenities that provide a healthy, active environment in which to grow our local community.
One of the most common social demographics that is attracted and affected is skateboarders. If we can have an indoor skate-park facility that also houses youth groups, our community can take a positive step to improve opportunities for youths and provide structured, positive influences for upcoming generations. The city of South Lake Tahoe will be able to raise a healthy, involved population.
The most-effective location for the indoor skate-park facility would be positioned with the Recreation Pool and Ice Arena complex within the 56- Acre project area. This is true for the following reasons:
— The indoor skate park would be surrounded by cultural and educational staples such as the public library, an art museum and other athletic facilities, thus providing a culturally diverse and healthy environment for youths to gain a positive self-image and succeed from.
— It could convert the social demographic of skateboarders from “loiterers” or “kids that shouldn’t be there” to a demographic that we can expect to come from a structured, healthy environment. It could be the largest social advancement possible in the South Lake Tahoe area.
— The long-term effects of a skate-park facility on this community are greater than the effects of any other facility or land usage proposed in the 56-Acre project to date. When steering our community, where else should we look but to our next generations?
— Other suggested locations for a skate-park facility would segregate the skateboarder demographic from the complementary facilities that could surround it at the 56-Acre project. Alternate locations would negate the positive effects of a centralized, multifaceted design.
Due to some of the stereotypes and social categorizing of the skateboarding community, it has been classically difficult for skaters to be heard and respected in government. Skaters do not have much political weight as compared with the senior-citizen demographic, for example. But from my personal experience as a substitute teacher in the South Lake Tahoe Unified School District (K-12), I would estimate that half the males have a skateboard or some other athletic equipment that would be used at an indoor skate park. This demographic is just beginning to mature into the voting populace, and furthermore, its numbers are so great that it could be used as a social tool to develop a better community.
A skate park should be viewed with the same integrity as the football and baseball fields that currently cover this nation. From my vantage point, I see more positive effects coming from a well-designed skate-park facility than any other sports field, yet we still lack a worthwhile skate park in South Lake Tahoe. I hope this letter can help our government to clarify questions, or lack thereof, in regard to the skate-park situation in the city of South Lake Tahoe.
– Jason Mallory is a local skateboard enthusiast.