Breslin Park Half Pipe Missing (Photo courtesy tipster)
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A concrete half pipe in Breslin Park at Payne Street and Lexington Road has been removed and its grassy berm regraded into a flat patch of dirt and gravel. A tipster sent in these photos this week showing what has become of Louisville’s first skate park.

Irish Hill’s half pipe had been walled off by a tall chain link fence for some time since the new skate park opened on Witherspoon and Clay Street in Butchertown. It’s unclear what will become of the area, but it looks like it will eventually contain a new playground sometime in the future.

Our tipster reports a reference to the playground in the mayor’s 2010 budget and the Breslin Park master plan created in March 2001 shows a playground on this exact spot along with an entry pavilion on the corner and revamped walking paths.

Since the plan was created, however, the Breslin Park pool has become a controversial issue and the city had proposed shuttering the pool in favor of a spray park to save on operating costs. In 2008, surveys were distributed to the neighborhood to help guide a new master plan. I’m not sure where that stands today. Anyone know more details?

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Branden Klayko

Founder and Editor at Broken Sidewalk
Branden founded Broken Sidewalk in 2008 while practicing architecture in Louisville. He continued the site for seven years while living in New York City, returning to Louisville in 2016. Branden is a graduate of the College of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, and has covered architecture, design, and urbanism for The Architect's Newspaper, Designers & Books, Inhabitat, and the American Institute of Architects.
Branden Klayko

5 COMMENTS

  1. Its sad how many more skating/bmx opportunities we would have if the extreme sports types just asked for them. They simply need to have a few thrashers at all these parks meetings, and they would have skate stuff designed in. The city’s closing pools left and right, and yet none of them are being converted for skating. As it is, the fuddy duddies show up to the parks meetings unopposed and get thrasher-hostile designs put in.

    In a world where inactivity is arguably the #1 killer of people, its a crime that we’re designing rec opportunities out of our parks for the most popular youth sports.

  2. I was working for the old Louisville Board of Aldermen when that 1/2 pipe was installed in the 1980s. Alderman Steve Magre pushed for what was then thought to be a pretty big deal. As I recall, his oldest son (who would now be in his early 40s now I think) was a skateboard enthusiast and led to charge to have the pipe built. I remember attending meetings in support of the project at the old St. Aloysius on Payne Street. The Irish Hill neighborhood was on the eastern edge of Magre’s old 5th Ward which extended from the Clarks Lane area northwest through Germantown and Irish Hill into Butchertown and Clifton Heights, all the way down to the old Edith Lane landfill, now recovered land used as soccer fields.

    On Dave’s comment, as a resident of the 800 block of Franklin, two blocks up from the skatepark, it would be helpful if someone in the skateboarding community would address the litter problem created seven days a week by the skateboarding community. I do not mind the park – my nephew basically grew up skating there, but I do mind the litter. The intersection of Clay and Franklin seems to serve as a dump for the skatepark users. That one problem resolved would go along way in community relations.

  3. I’d like to participate in a discussion with the skateboarding community regarding illegal trespass onto private property. I’m not a skateboarder, but I can understand the temptation of a sloping piece of pavement or a few steps. Nonetheless, it simply is not cool for ‘boarders to skate on private property.

  4. People in Louisville seem to feel that something about four wheels on a board (or a BMX bike) leads to antisocial behavior, and indeed many of the skaters and BMX riders here do have a churlish, anti-establishment aura to them. Is it nature or is it nurture?

    My experience living in Half Moon Bay California was totally different. Skaters were seen as kids having fun, blowing off steam. There was a skate park in view of the middle school (closed during school hours, otherwise open), and probably they designed their infrastructure with half an eye on its skateability. As an incubator for surfers, skaters were seen as an economic engine for the city.

    You hunt people down, systematically take away their rec opportunities, design stuff to annoy them (e.g. the planned wheelchair ramp under Tyler Park bridge, Breslin Park), and guess what? They’re not going to play by the rules of the system that shuts them out.

    The population of thrashers appears to turn over every 6 years, due to growing up. This is a social problem that is easy to fix, if people will just stop looking at them as an out group.

    Of course there are going to be some skaters who are littering, trespassing jerks. That’s because there are humans, and humans are jerks part of the time. Its not a good reason to punish all skaters.

    Perhaps an example:

    I’m much less annoyed with skaters as a group, than, say, beer drinkers, who are leaving their broken bottles in every park, road, sidewalk, etcetera. Despite my annoyance with this class of citizens, I don’t support systematic discrimination against them (e.g. Prohibition) because I realize that the majority of beer drinkers pick up their litter, maybe even recycling it. Most people would agree with that, I think. Its just because skaters are a disenfranchised, leaderless minority that they are discriminated against. Too bad, because the fundamental activity has a lot of good things going for it: cheap, wholesome outdoor activity popular with the youngsters.

  5. Dave —
    It appears to me you have put far – way far – more words in my mouth (or entry) than I did. Where you came by the word Prohibition I do not know. I indicated support for the original Breslin skateboard facility. I indicated I do not mind the skateboard park two blocks from me. I never used the word Prohibition or anything close to it. I said nothing about churlish ways, anti-social behavior, punishing all skaters, or taking away any recreational opportunities. Those are your words taken from where in my entry I know not.

    I simply identified a problem – trash at Clay and Franklin. In your lenghty rant against the establishment, you totally failed to address this problem at all.
    — Jeff Noble

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