PHOTOS: St. Louis Is Building Its First Legal Skateboarding Park

Categories: Community

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Photos courtesy of Theresa Sonnenschein, unless noted
The Peter Mathews Memorial Skate Park.
The Peter Mathews Memorial Skate Park, St. Louis' first legally sanctioned skate park, is almost finished.

St. Louis was one of the few major American cities without a free, public spot for skating until a band of local skateboarders changed everything. The group, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit known as the Kingshighway Vigilante Transitions (KHVT), held community meetings and fundraisers, earned support from local politicians, found a gardening club to partner with and even got a leading skate-park building company to volunteer to build the south-city park for free. And KHVT's work thus far has impressed a man who knows a thing or two about pouring concrete: St. Louis streets director Todd Waelterman.

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

"These are no dummies," says Waelterman. "I've been very proud of them."

KHVT earned a nod from Popular Mechanics in 2011. The group was named a hometown hero for showing the rest of us "Ten Ways to Change the World (Starting in Your Own Backyard.)"

The entrepreneurial skateboarders, along with supporters and volunteers, have come a long way toward making their new skate park into a reality. In the last few weeks, they've gone from this:

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To this:

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Lindsay Toler
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Lindsay Toler
KHVT had to look for a new (and preferably legal) place to skate when the group's guerilla skate park under the Kingshighway bridge started to fall down around their heads. The bridge is scheduled to be demolished soon.

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

But the fact that St. Louis even had a DIY skate park was a sign that the city was prime for a legal, maintained, professionally built skatepark like the one under construction at 4415 Morganford Road.

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"Basically, just a bunch of skaters got together and built a park and asked forgiveness later," Bryan Bedwell, the chairman of the board of directors for KHVT told Daily RFT just before the group broke ground. "That shows there's a need for it."

KHVT is still raising money to pay for the park. Organizers have raised more than $2,800 toward their $5,000 goal.

Theresa Sonnenschein, who lives near the new skate park, says the park provides a much-needed outlet for children in the neighborhood.

"They have nothing to do but walk in the middle of the street," Sonnenschein tells Daily RFT. "I'm so glad they are doing this."

To donate to the Peter Mathews Memorial Skate Park, visit KHVT's GoFundMe site.

See more photos on page 2.

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52 comments
Gary Muich
Gary Muich

Will be trashed and gang drug activity hang out!

dalediversity
dalediversity topcommenter

Hopefully they build a fence around it. I know Pete would have wanted to keep a certain element out.  

Marisela Rivas
Marisela Rivas

wow, I'm from Cali I can't remember kids not having a place to skate. How strange. Now all you need is a bmx park to go with it.

Ryan Wenneker
Ryan Wenneker

whats more of a travesty than not having a skatepark in st. louis is that its probably a fact that retarded scooters will be allowed no problem, causing congestion and endangering everyone there, (not to mention parents leaving their young scooter kids at the park to be babysat), but bmx bikers will be banned from using it... sad that in this day and age that this kind of discrimination, intolerance, and predjudice exists... yet if it was anybody else, it would be all over the news. is that fair?

Genia Ackworth
Genia Ackworth

They need some teen centers too. Teens need something to do.

Heidi J. Greene
Heidi J. Greene

Another reason to visit soon Jonathan Myles Walker!!!!

Dennis Mathews
Dennis Mathews

Proud to say I was related to the man it's being named after. I know a lot of work and petitions went into getting this done. Glad it's happening!!

Amanda Lestina
Amanda Lestina

Rosanne Falbo yes it does but here ya go 4415 Morganford Road.

Andrew Johnson
Andrew Johnson

^^google could probably help you with that answer.

Rosanne Falbo
Rosanne Falbo

Read the article, no mention of where the park is located.

Philip Rock
Philip Rock

only 15 years behind the rest of the country

Eric Darling
Eric Darling

Great job to all the older skaters getting in there and making things happen, all the while making sure the younger guys had their hands in the work so they could have that extra appreciation of skating something they built. Great job KHVT, Team Pain, and all the other good people who gave what they could to the project.

Nate Kern
Nate Kern

Kudos to these guys for seeing a great idea through. I haven't skated in years but I'm glad to see this spot is happening in the city!

Gabriel Cotton
Gabriel Cotton

Is this just considering the city as St. Louis? There has been a public skate park at Sylvan Springs County Park near Jefferson Barracks for a couple of years already.

Michael Boyle
Michael Boyle

Bram, here's your chance. Randall, I feel like you can skateboard...am I right?

Justin Hassler
Justin Hassler

Yeah I hope it turns out cewl kings highway was dope

Char Lee
Char Lee

You can deal drugs anywhere. A lot of them are legitimate athletes. They need a place to do this. It's healthy.

alexmpowers
alexmpowers

Wish they would have lived up to the first round of funding rewards via Kickstarter - glad I got burned by that when I saw they were coming back for seconds with the GoFundMe campaign. 

Stephen Martin
Stephen Martin

Look at it this way. It gets them off your lawn.

Stephen Martin
Stephen Martin

St. Louis has never had a public skate park before? That's embarrassing.

Gary Muich
Gary Muich

It will be nothing but a hood hangout and drug deals! Something else for them to tear up!

andwilkes
andwilkes

Very cool.  Cheers to their grassroots efforts!

Zachary Bates
Zachary Bates

old shnucks on big bend and 141 is perfect spot! i wish someone would check it out. going to be expensive though

jbh123
jbh123

@alexmpowers Did you pledge money via Kickstarter and not receive your reward? 

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