SOMETHING CONCRETE: New Skate Feature May Be First of Its Kind
Chris Johnson wants small skate features all over Eau Claire
While a new Skate Park will be built in Boyd Park in the near future, another new skating feature just popped up in Eau Claire. Chris Johnson, owner of Passion Board Shop and a member of the city Parks and Waterways Commission, helped put a small skate bank on the bike path across from the Eau Claire Police Department – but he isn’t done just yet.
Back in 2013 when the Lakeshore Skate Park opened, there were also conversations with the then-director of Eau Claire Parks and Recreation about installing 10-12 small skate parks spread all over town. The point was to ensure that no matter where someone lived, they would have access to a skate park.
That conversation unfortunately never came to fruition due to budgeting issues. Johnson figured that if the city couldn’t have skate parks all over, it could at least get things people could skate on. This sparked his idea for skate features on bike paths.
“My idea was inspired by a mix of the Sculpture Tour and the workout stations based around town,” Johnson said. “I figured if we could have pull-up bars and stuff right off the bike path, why couldn’t we add some skate features as well?”
My idea was inspired by a mix of the Sculpture Tour and the workout stations based around town. I figured if we could have pull-up bars and stuff right off the bike path, why couldn’t we add some skate features as well?
The first bank installed across from the police station is a “guinea pig” of sorts for this idea. Since there are no concrete plans (no pun intended) to produce more features, this was a way to show the city how much residents appreciate the idea. Johnson hopes that these features will be a safer and legal way for skaters to get together to “street skate” which is finding an obstacle like a ridge, stairs rails, or street obstacles to skate and do tricks on.
“This first one is just a plain bank because I wanted to pick something to be super low budget where we can hire local concrete workers to complete it,” Johnson said. “These things are small budget, but still good for wheel sports, and can be accessible for everybody.”
Johnson wants these features to feel sort of like the Sculpture Tour by painting each one with a different mural, giving each neighborhood a feeling of ownership and pride for their feature.
“This is a progressive idea for this city,” Johnson said. “Eau Claire is a progressive city, but we typically look at an example of what other cities are doing, and then we follow suit. We don’t tend to be the first ones to do things. But in this case, we actually are the first ones.”
Johnson said the best way to get more of these features is to reach out to City Council members and the Parks and Recreation Department about how much citizens use and appreciate the piece.