Finding a reason why the city would ban skating from LOVE Park is a passionate issue to many skaters, as LOVE Park is a significant historic landmark to skateboarders worldwide. Last night, February 1st, three teenage filmmakers, Emmett Drueding, Paul Sanders and Axel Tuveson debuted their documentary, “Skaters in LOVE” at the Friends Select School. Through the guidance of the Learning Lab at WHYY and as part of the Friends Select Summer Academic Program, Emmett, Paul and Axel revealed the history, controversy and public reaction surrounding the ban in LOVE Park. As Paul Sanders stated in the panel discussion following the viewing, “ I couldn’t see the hatred [towards skaters] from the people in the park. But I could see all these sad skateboarders.”
<img src="http://www.phillyimc.org/images/icon/2006/01/18681.png" alt="Skaters in LOVE" width="120" height="74"></a>
<br><span>Skaters in LOVE</span></td>
<img src="http://www.phillyimc.org/images/icon/2006/02/18780.jpg" alt="Filmmakers After the Forum" width="120" height="90"></a>
<br><span>Filmmakers After the Forum</span></td>
Through the video, the three boys interviewed Ed Bacon, who created LOVE Park and had been an advocate of reopening the park to skateboarders until his death in 2005. As Greg Heller, president of the Ed Bacon Foundation, claimed, “Ed loved the nature of skateboarding and he loved how LOVE Park showed that.” The student filmmakers also interviewed the former city managing director, Phil Goldsmith and representatives from the Skateboard Advocacy Network and Educated to Skate. At one point in the video, Phil Goldsmith confronted a young boy taking his picture in front to the LOVE sculpture with his skateboard. When asked what he was doing, the boy answered that he was going to try and skate until he got caught.
<br />In response to shoeing the skateboarders out of LOVE Park, city officials have helped draw a draft for a new skate park, Schuylkill River Park. However, it just isn’t the same, as the plans are not finished and the financial aspect has not been ironed out. As Scott Kip, President of the Skateboard Advocacy Network explained, at one point we had the money and sponsorship. Initially, we could have funded renovation in LOVE Park for tens years. “It was a shining success except they [the city council] didn’t say yes.”
<br />To the City Counsel, reopening LOVE Park to skateboarders is a design issue. It was a public space with a great design for skateboarding. Some cities would pay for that kind of recognition. But as an audience member stated, “I don’t think the city ever meant to free the park.” Through this documentary, these three student filmmakers showed that skateboarding is important to some kids as an outlet, as a passion. It is the next generation of sports and that it can change peoples’ lives. The city shouldn’t push aside the rights of the skateboarders.
<br />To find out more about how to support this cause, or to view a compromise proposal made by the Coalition to Free LOVE Park please visit: <img src="/img/extlink.gif" border="0"/> <a href="http://www.ushistory.org/lovepark/">http://www.ushistory.org/lovepark/</a>