KHVT: St. Louis Film Explores Kingshighway Bridge Skatepark Before Its Demise (VIDEO)

Categories: Arts, News, Video

via Vimeo / Ashley Seering
Everything Will Be Forgotten
When Ashley Seering saw a news segment on the city skatepark under the Kingshighway bridge, she knew there was more to the story. A local student, Seering says it was clear to her that the site would make for a compelling documentary subject and was one that deserves more attention -- especially since the park, in its current form, will not exist for much longer.

"It's a special place and it's going to be gone," Seering, a Southern Illinois University Edwardsville student, tells Daily RFT. "I wanted to have some way to put it in the history books for them."

So she took a trip to the park, at the intersection of Kingshighway and Bischoff Avenue, and started chatting with the regulars.

See also: Post-Apocalyptic Portraits of the Abandoned Crestwood Mall (PHOTOS)

She last week released the final product of this effort, a documentary short called "Everything Will Be Forgotten," which she co-produced with Cory Byers, an instructor at SIUE, where Seering, 21, is a television production student.

The film is only ten minutes and well worth your time:

The park is overseen by a group called Kingshighway Vigilante Transitions, or KHVT, which has established itself as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is working on securing a new home for the skatepark.

As KHVT explained in a recent Kickstarter campaign, thousands of youth and parents originally came together to build St. Louis' first and only free skatepark, hidden in the abandoned area under what is officially called the South Kingshighway Viaduct.

The bridge, however, is 76 years old and deteriorating; the city is planning to destroy it and rebuild a new structure on the site, which is why KHVT is working to transition to a new location.

That's also what attracted Seering to the site, which had not previously been documented in any substantive way.

Courtesy of Ashley Seering
Ashley Seering.

"This is the final summer. A lot of them were treating it like that," she says. "It's kind of like someone's senior year in high school. They want to make sure they can get down there as much as possible. They were trying to make the most of it while it was still there."

As she notes in the film, and as we reported earlier this year, KHVT has signed a lease with the city for a new home at a lot at 4415 Morgan Ford Road to be named the Peter Mathews Memorial Skategarden. As the name suggests, the project aims to incorporate a community garden that surrounds the skate area.

via Vimeo / Ashley Seering

Seering's film is focused on what the group has built under the bridge.

"We had no idea what we were going to encounter," she says, "but they were really open to talking."

"It's become a landmark for them in the city," says Seering, who grew up in Mascoutah, a small city in St. Clair county. "St. Louis has a lot of these little communities, little subcultures that are really important to keeping the culture of the city alive."

People often think of New York City or Los Angeles as having notable underground scenes, she says. "Here, it just takes a little bit more digging."

"What they really want people to know is they are a community within themselves," she continues. "Their intentions are good. They really want to make it a place that people can come to, where kids can stay out of trouble. It's all ages down there."

via Vimeo / Ashley Seering

She adds, "Their future is really bright."

It will, however, be in a different location.

As one of her interview subjects repeatedly says, "Nothing lasts forever."

KHTV's Kickstarter from the spring.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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Sad there are no 'free' spots in St. Louis... 

I'm living in Houston now and there are several nice skateparks around Houston and surrounding communities that are free. We frequent one of the handful that is in 'The Woodlands' and it's really nice... and the kids basically keep it up. 

The big Joe and Jamail park downtown Houston is a really nice place, and it's absolutely free!  They are building another huge park almost finished in Spring Texas on the north side of Houston, and it's gonna be free too...

St. Louis is a big enough city, they need to have parks like this...

Jason Lockwood
Jason Lockwood

just guess ? their's spending theE* swag* on fighting the black on Black murder's

Charmane M. Malone-Mumin
Charmane M. Malone-Mumin

I was amazed what they were able to done under there... But at the same time I did a silent prayer of gratitude that my son wasn't a skater.

Jay M. Perry
Jay M. Perry

@Ksmith: "The bridge, however, is 76 years old and deteriorating; the city is planning to destroy it and rebuild a new structure on the site, which is why KHVT is working to transition to a new location."

Ksmith Wash
Ksmith Wash

Why destroy it if the kids have made the area into something positive! What's the point?

Martin Gilbertson
Martin Gilbertson

Hey...if those kids are outside and not involved in buying or selling drugs....I'm all for it! Keep the kids minds occupied with activities and they'll turn out okay.

Lauren Wayman
Lauren Wayman

Great to hear they are able to relocate and very happy to see the city is actually participating in a solution for once, instead of just creating obstacles for KHVT.

Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

What there is something cool in the city? DESTROY IT!!!

Clyde Rhoads
Clyde Rhoads

Sad to see it go, but the bridge needs rebuilt. There is so much heart poured into this area. So many memories. And still so much need for another location like this. There is a Mt Bike park in Seatlle below an I-5 overpass, its called Colonade I-5 Bike park. I believe its under exit 67, its been a few years since i rode there, but very similar situation, being that it was built by bikers, for bikers. Colonade still stands though.

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