Looks like the painfully accurate reconstruction of the Bro Bowl is more or less complete, but as is the case with most skateparks integrated into public parks, the rest of surrounding work is not finished, so the skatepark is off limits, and is in fact, a trespassing offense. It looks like the only thing not replicated was the 70’s era concrete finishing. WFLA Channel 8 in Tampa has the skinny.
The news about the new skatepark design meeting in Tampa got me thinking about the Bro Bowl. Ages ago I posted about a Bro Bowl documentary that was in progress, so I decided to see if anything ever came from it. They finished it, and it’s available for viewing in it’s entirety. The opening sequence starts off a bit rough, but once you get past that, it’s pretty good. Notably missing, however, if an interview with the guy who designed and built the place, Joel Jackson. The Tampa Bay Times interviewed him in conjunction with the Bro Bowl being nominated for the National Register of Historic Places as one of only two 70’s era public skateparks still in existence in the USA. The par was originally surrounded by housing projects, but the whole area is slated for redevelopment. It’s not quite the same situation as Southbank, the redevelopment is in advance of a State of Florida Department of Transportation edict to widen the road adjacent to the skatepark. The city has advised locals to accept a the funding of a replacement park as the best possible outcome, over any temporary reprieve that activism may be able to achieve. The history of the neighborhood is complicated, not everyone (including skaters) want the the bowl saved. The documentary doesn’t really touch on any of this, instead choosing to tell stories about the sessions that went down. So while it’s not super informative, it’s still entertaining. Watch it after the jump.