Chicago: One step forward, two steps back


A couple years back I heard a rumor about a green light being given to a Burnside-style project in Chicago. Having been a long time resident of Chicago, a city famous for corruption, and the political machine, I was hesitant to believe that any alderman would risk alienating the 10 unions that would stand to lose their piece of the pie if skaters were allowed to take the DIY route. It just seemed completely un-Chicago. I don’t know if this Logan Square skatepark project is the reality of that rumor, but it blows chunks. Logan Square is my old hood, I feel for you my brothers…

[Source: Time Out Chicago Photo: Scott Judd]

Chicago proper has one dung heap of a concrete skatepark on the south side, Burnham that yes, can still be a lot of fun, but you can’t argue that it was built or designed well. Well, they learned their lesson when it came time for the second park. Wilson is a well constructed, if somewhat generic Site Design Group skatepark on the north side. Somehow or other, Logan Square ended up with prefab. The Chicago Park District feels that prefab is cheaper, and may consider a permanent concrete facility “at a later date if it proves to be popular and a good investment.” It’s essentially a self fulfilling prophesy of doom. Chicago already has another prefab park (who knew?) that apparently sucks and is falling apart, and as such, rarely gets used. However, this park will be the only one with a roof, so it may end up being heavily used by default. Now neighborhood “concerned citizens” are bummed out about a massive amount of graffiti the skatepark has attracted.

I can’t believe this travesty happened, yet on some levels I can. In the words of Chicago punk legends The Effigies:

We’re da machine,
an organized dream,
And a greased palm down at city hall,
means you walk away clean



  1. As if there was no graffiti there beforehand. I’d still skate it.

  2. houseofneil on April 2, 2009 - Reply

    Apparently it’s open. 24 hours w/ lights.

    And in that Time Out article, Steve Snyder = Stevie Dread who just got a nice looking shoe on Nike.

  3. houseofneil on April 2, 2009 - Reply

    This is too perfect: from that Sun Times article:

    “Acid-etching vandals have kept Randy Smith busy. He sells a security film that prevents the damage. He has seen pockets of etched windows in Logan Square, Wicker Park and downtown.

    “Columbia College is one of my big clients,” said Smith, of R.A.D. Window Technology. “They’ve had a big problem.”

    The Acid-Etching Vandals? Good band name. And “R.A.D. Window Technology”? Ya dude!!

  4. houseofneil on April 2, 2009 - Reply

    and here’s some footage of some fruitbooters skating it. No word on whether they escaped with their lives.

  5. curtis on April 2, 2009 - Reply

    2 questions: are they gonna tear out that fence at the bottom of the bank? and are budgies allowed?

  6. Prickly Pete on April 2, 2009 - Reply

    Those ramps look like heavy metal baby beds.

  7. Livmo on April 2, 2009 - Reply

    Fooled me at first. I thought they were Plexyglas, ala the Pepsi Ramp

  8. Livermore on April 2, 2009 - Reply

    Fooled me at first. I thoguht they were Plexyglas, ala the Pepsi Ramp

  9. Fooled me at first. I thought they were Plexyglas, ala the Pepsi Ramp.

  10. Al Crapone on April 2, 2009 - Reply

    Come on Chicago, where’s your sense of pride. That skatepark does not fit a city that prides itself on the Cub/Sox/Bears/Bulls. Guess the windy city nickname is fitting since you are totally blowing it. Second rate solution all the way. Those decks look like incomplete jail cells. Chicago, skate turd city of the midwest.

  11. there were rumors of this park being concrete and supposedly one of the best parks in the city… but as soon as i walked past it after watching friday the 13th at the theater down the street i was disappointed to see those prefab ramps being put up… another case of the city ignoring the people who are going to be using this park the most. about the only cool thing about the park is that it’s under the freeway bridge so it might not get too rained out under there but then again it’s kind of on a weird slope and i can see mud runoff as being a problem. also that area of the city is kind of a fucked up place to put a park as it’s a major intersection and traffic is retarded over there. i see this park as being skated early on but once those ramps start getting messed up people going there less and less.

    as for being the skate turd city of the midwest… if you’re not from here come say that to some of the locals… if you are from here maybe you should go find some street spots like everyone else.

  12. Al Crapone on April 4, 2009 - Reply

    Let me clarify “skate turd”. Chicago has every opportunity to build something good and they choose to build a turd. So the park and the city council are the turds. With respect to the streets in Chicago, they are great but then again, that’s not what we were discussing. It was the piece of crap skatepark under a bridge.

  13. matt wes on April 4, 2009 - Reply

    i agree chicago needs to step up the game as far as concrete parks are concerned… given that it’s like the third largest city in the US you’d think they’d have it figured out by now.

  14. dr. fuzz on April 6, 2009 - Reply

    if one thing is fer certain, that link above reminded me that ‘blading is still ghey.

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