Chicago Sun-Times

Skate park under highway may skip ‘NIMBY problem’

LOGAN SQUARE Park District plans ramps beneath Kennedy

- BY ANDREW HERRMANN

Chicago officials are hoping a new under-the-highway park will be over the top with skateboard­ers.

Planners are aiming to build a playground for ’boarders beneath the Kennedy Expy. at Logan Boulevard — a nearly half million dollar project likely to be OKd today by the Chicago Park District Board.

The Logan Square Skate Park is modeled after similar sub-highway spots such as Burnside in Portland, Ore., and Marginal Way in Seattle.

FDR Skatepark, under an Interstate 95 overpass in Philadelph­ia, is featured in a video game starring skateboard guru Tony Hawk.

Parks Supt. Timothy Mitchell said he hopes to have the skate park open in time for next summer.

The Logan Square site, designed by the Chicago firm Thompson Dyke & Associates, will have 10 ramps, benches, an asphalt surface and a drinking fountain, said project manager Jim McGreevy. Park officials needed permission from the Illinois Department of Transporta­tion to build the park.

McGreevy said the overpass will allow for skating in all kinds of weather. The shadowy ambiance of such playground­s seems to appeal to skaters, as well.

Logan Square parks advocate Mark Heller, a former skater, called the park “an opportunit­y at zero land cost to transform a bleak, derelict urban space into a vibrant activities jewel.”

Heller said skaters often run into “the NIMBY problem — Not In My Backyard — because of the noise.”

“You can’t complain about skateboade­rs under a highway where the dominant noise is the highway itself,” Heller said.

 ?? MATT ROURKE~AP ?? Philadelph­ia’s FDR Skatepark, shown in 2006, was built under an overpass. It is in a Tony Hawk video game.
MATT ROURKE~AP Philadelph­ia’s FDR Skatepark, shown in 2006, was built under an overpass. It is in a Tony Hawk video game.

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