By Emily Harrington
I want to learn how to skateboard! I’ll do anything to try out the gnarliness that is Spalding Skate Park in Champaign.
Many of the locals I’ve talked to about the skatepark said the same thing, “I never knew there was a skatepark in town.” It’s a shame, too, because this park is a concrete diamond in the rough. It’s an awesome tween/teen resource in Champaign-Urbana and most residents don’t even know it exists.
The address of the skatepark is 900 N. Harris Ave., across from Franklin Middle School. While this may be technically true it’s somewhat misleading. You can’t even see the concrete structure from the street and can’t easily access it. To park and enter the skatepark, go to the corner of North Elm Street and West Maple Street, behind the sprawling Spalding Park area.
You’ll be shocked at what you see. A skater’s paradise is waiting for your wheels. The 18,000-square-foot skatepark has three “bowls,” a “snake run” and bars for “ollies” flips and tricks. A bowl is exactly like what it sounds like, a large scoop taken out of the concrete. A snake run is a long-windy scoop taken out of the concrete. And a bar—well it’s a bar. All provide challenges and opportunities for wheel-related tricks.
The skatepark is open seven days a week until dusk and is free for all board and inline skaters.
Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind before and during your visit:
- Helmets and pads are strongly encouraged.
- No pets.
- Litter on the surface is dangerous, put it in a trash can.
- Respect your fellow skaters.
- Respect our neighbors.
- Watch out for the little people.
While you are in the area check out the Spalding Park playground and basketball courts just west of the skatepark.
The motto of the park—skate hard, skate friendly, skate safe. If that doesn’t make you want to take a chance on some “bowls” while doing some “ollies” or at least take your kiddos there, I don’t know what else will. I think I’m going to dust off my pink and white rollerblades from the 1990s and head over to the park. Who’s with me?
Emily Harrington is a Chambana townie that left her 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. job to be a 24/7 mom to a dreamy son. Still interested in writing, Emily uses some of naptime to practice her passion and keep her mind right. Emily is a happy wife with a happy life because she fell for a fellow townie. Oh, and let’s not forget her other son, a degenerate canine named Heppenheimer.