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St. Louis' First Legal Skate Park to Break Ground Soon; KHVT Still Raising Funds

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khvtskate.jpg
KHVT
Skateboarders are bringing the first legal skate park to the city of St. Louis.
St. Louis is still one of the only major U.S. cities without a legally sanctioned skateboarding park, but an entrepreneurial group of skateboarders is days away from changing all that.

After years of fundraising, organizing, hosting meetings and working with local politicians, the Kingshighway Vigilante Transitions (KHVT) plan to break ground on its skate park-slash-public garden in south city's Bevo neighborhood on March 15.

For information on how to donate to the skate park, go to page two.

"It's not just for the kids and the skateboarders; it's going to be a nice place to hang out," says Bryan Bedwell, the chairman of the board of directors for KHVT, a 501c3 nonprofit. "Everybody is pretty much for it because if there's a skate park, then there is no excuse for us not to skate there. You can't just say skateboarding is illegal and not give us a place to go do it."

But that's exactly what the city of St. Louis has always done, until the skateboarding vigilantes took it upon themselves to build a DIY skate spot under the Kingshighway bridge.

See also: KHVT Hosting Kickoff Party to Raise Funds for New Skate Park

"Basically, just a bunch of skaters got together and built a park and asked forgiveness later," Bedwell tells the Daily RFT. "That shows there's a need for it."

While the Kingshighway park was technically illegal, the skateboarders' ingenuity and pluck impressed city officials.

"I was amazed at how clean it was kept," says St. Louis Streets director Todd Waelterman. When Waelterman saw how the skateboarders built ramps, cleared trash and covered graffiti, he offered to help with supplies, donating a city dumpster and extra concrete. "These are no dummies. I've been very proud of them."

But the bridge above the makeshift skate park is literally falling apart. The city is tearing it down and plans to replace it in late fall or early summer, forcing the skateboarders to find a new home.

"It's basically falling down on our heads now," Bedwell says.

So KHVT found a new home for its skate park, at 4415 Morganford Road, just a few miles south of the Kingshighway location.

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KHVT
The Kingshighway Vigilante Transitions hope to break ground on the Peter Mathews Memorial Skate Park next week.
Alderwoman Carol Howard helped the skaters rent a 14,000-square-foot property for $1 a year and is using funds from the 14th Ward to buy a fence to surround the park, Bedwell says.

The skate park KHTV plans to build -- named the Peter Mathews Memorial Skate Garden, after a local skateboarder who died in a car accident -- typically costs six figures, Bedwell says. But KHTV's partnerships with the city, the Tony Hawk Foundation and Team Pain skate-park builders, mean St. Louis can build a skate park for a fraction of the cost.

"We are going to be able to give St. Louis a $100,000 skate park for $30,000 because we have all these people behind us to help," says Bedwell.

KHVT is asking for $5,000 to build its park. Get the breakdown behind the cost on the next page.

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31 comments
Neil Aimaro
Neil Aimaro

Excellent. Hopefully they will host Punk Rock Shows

Harrison Elfrink
Harrison Elfrink

Skateboarding is back in vogue? Did Tony Hawk come out of retirement?

Gary Muich
Gary Muich

Will be taken over by gangs as everything else!

Char Lee
Char Lee

There's a skate park in Belleville.

Vanessa Cosentino
Vanessa Cosentino

Ive called and never got returned calls.early one morning i was there with my boys and we saw a parks worker cleaning up and he said its been getting worse and worse

Vanessa Cosentino
Vanessa Cosentino

Matt Cox that is the one under the kingshighway bridge that is being torn down i believe

Vanessa Cosentino
Vanessa Cosentino

Pattie Van Horn Murphy the one in arnold is the one that is constantly trashed

Matt Cox
Matt Cox

What about the one by the hill?

Vanessa Cosentino
Vanessa Cosentino

Parents need to raise their kids to respect what is given to them, not destroy it. The only plus side to seeing all that trash is it gives me an opportunity to teach my kids what NOT to do and allows me to lead by example and pick bottles and big gulp cups left all over so my kids do the same...within safety guidelines of course (I have seen condoms, razor blades (im sure probably used for grip tape) and other nasty crap left on the seating areas at ferd b lang)

Philip Rock
Philip Rock

about damn time. they're only almost 15 years behind the trends here.

Vanessa Cosentino
Vanessa Cosentino

I hope the new one is treated better than jb and ferd b lang and kingshighway...not that they are horribly filthy(well ferd b lang is) but i cant think of a time ive gone to any of those and not seen trash left all over despite several trash cans (and a dumpster under kings) being present

Shane King
Shane King

Ryan Wenneker its called built by skateboarders for skateboarders. Bike riders could do the same thing long as they have the support nobody is stopping you.

Ryan Wenneker
Ryan Wenneker

i can almost guarantee that bmx wont be allowed but scooters will be.. that would be bullshit and descrimination and yet it happens all the time.. and to those who think skaterboarders and bmxers cant coexist should go the way of the dinosaurs.. i like the idea of a good spot being build, hopefully it actually is... built great.. and actually enjoyable instead of most the parks around.. with one exception, RAMP RIDERS!

Corey Butler
Corey Butler

This place is right across from Oak Hill, this would look a lot better than that empty lot.

Joyce Boswell
Joyce Boswell

Can't skate myself but think if kids have a place to go have fun they won't get in so much trouble. They only need $5000 so if everyone can donate 5-10 that would help a lot.

Constance Cafazza
Constance Cafazza

I'm looking forward to having this park up and running and I'm glad it's happening in Bevo!

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