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In 1963 the first commercial skateboards were manufactured, it went on to represent a $4.8 billion market. With all the skateboards being manufactured and sold, the skateboarded needed a place to skate! They took to the streets and found challenges by skating in empty swimming pools and homemade ramps and bowls.

As popularity continued pushing forward, the first skatepark, Suf City was constructed from plywood ramps in 1966 in Kelso, Washington. Skateparks continued to be built and in extreme climates were even built indoors.

Unlike organized sports, there are no rules, officials or a standard design for skateparks. As the years went on, skateparks were improved to emulate the challenges of a street skating experience. Most skateparks were commercial facilities during this time were run on a “pay to play” model. However there were a few that were free outdoor skate runs in the country.

Near the send of the 70’s, the population in skateboarding had waned in part due to an increase in liability insurance premiums and a downturn in the market.

In 1988, a law in California declared skateboarding to be a “Hazardous Recreational Activity”, which no longer held municipalities and their employees liable for claims or negligence resulting from skateboarding injuries. This brough forward a resurgence in the sport and skateparks as facilities were no longer being burdened with the high cost of liability insurance requirements.

As skateboard popularity once again surged, the limited skateparks available were not sufficient to serve the needs of skateboarders. As they took to the streets grinding on ledges and skating down busy avenues, cities began looking for a solution.

Skateboarders themselves became the voices behind the positive change by seeking the support of experienced to build local skateparks. Today, there are different types of skateparks that can be constructed that can encompass different challenging elements into the landscape.

Skateparks are both privately and publicly owned across the country. Indoor skateparks are usually privately owned and still utilize a “pay to play” model, while most public skateparks are outdoor and free to use.

A lot has changed over the years. Skateparks begin and launch with community engagement. Skatepark advocates are responsible for the success stories that generations beyond their own will enjoy and appreciate.

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