In a city known for its thriving skate culture, one Brooklyn mom is working hard to create a world class inclusive skate park in memory of her son.
The Brooklyn Skate Garden, inspired by beloved professional skateboarder Pablo Ramirez who died in 2019, is an innovative community wide effort to redefine a Brooklyn green space and give skaters in the neighborhood a place to call home.
Plans for the space play to both parts of its name. Part skatepark, part green retreat, The Brooklyn Skate Garden will be an eco-space that meshes sports, environmental education, the arts and sustainability, Pablo’s mother Loren Michelle told BK Reader. At this stage, Michelle said there’s no set location for the park.
“This has never been done before, this is an innovative model for how communities can come together through the power of skateboarding,” Michelle said.
The idea for the Brooklyn Skate Garden was formed in 2019 when friends and community members gathered to celebrate the respected skateboarder, who was also an artist and jazz drummer, at a memorial jazz picnic in Prospect Park. “There was one guy who just came right out and said we should get a skate park,” Michelle said.
“I thought, you know, this is a big job. But then we all started talking about how it would be an amazing way to honor Pablo.” Since then, organizers have hosted skate events, mural paintings, park cleanups and a wide range of inclusive activities to bring locals together to get the word out.
The Brooklyn Skate Garden wants to offer something to everyone in honor of Pablo’s many talents and passions, Michelle said, adding the aim was to create a holistic and green space for everyone.
“We want to break all these boundaries and barriers and our meetups are already doing just that — we have kids, young women, even my 60-year-old husband now riding on a board,” she said. While plans are still in development, Michelle said the aim was to redefine the boundaries that had steered many away from skating and skate parks in the past.
The plan for the park includes concrete slabs for skaters, accessible walkways and lush greenery. The public green space is currently listed on the participatory budgeting ballot for Council District 39, which includes parts of Kensington, Park Slope, Cobble Hill and Carroll Gardens.
The park would need $300,000 for the initial planning stage, and much more to fund the project. Michelle is working around the clock to get local residents and skaters on board for the project, which will be voted on by community members over 11 years of age, along with a number of other possible community projects.
If The Skate Garden is approved through participatory budgeting, it will give Michelle and the Pablo Ramirez Foundation funding to get the park off the ground through the first stage of planning. Michelle founded the Pablo Ramirez Foundation to honor Pablo and promote a positive lifestyle through skateboarding, music and art for kids and young adults. The foundation selects non-profit partners to give grants and scholarships to kids and young adults in need; and hosts skateboard, art openings and music events.
“New York is the center of the universe, everything comes from New York and we need to pave the way,” Michelle said.
“Brooklyn is this incubator of innovation, and once we do make a skate garden here I want to see it everywhere — we want to create a model that the world will follow.”
District 39 residents 11 years old and up can vote for participatory budgeting from April 5th to April 14th, for more information click here.
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