Sunday, March 29, 2015

Treefort 2015: Shredding at Skatefort

Posted By on Sun, Mar 29, 2015 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge Catching some air at Rhodes Park. - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Catching some air at Rhodes Park.

Not far form the Treefort Music Fest Main Stage, children and adults took turns at the Rhodes Skate Park halfpipe and on skateboard-friendly terrain features. By the basketball court, a group of people were listening to a punk rock band, and at a nearby tent, Tom Kilroy and Lori Wright of the Boise Skateboard Association were making the case for re-vamping the park.

"This is going to bring us into the new century," said Kilroy. "It's going to be a living art form."

Plans to renovate the park were discussed at a planning session of the Boise City Council in February. The new park will be built with $1.25 million from the J.A. and Katherine Albertson Foundation, as well as $138,000 from the city. The new park will include a Parkour course and enhanced skateboard features, with concrete work by skatepark developing firm Gridline. Kilroy said that the skate community has outgrown Rhodes, and the new park would be a destination for touring professionals and skate companies.

"This is our first big stepping stone," Kilroy said.

The new park has critics,too, however: Plans were rolled out about four months after the October beating death of Rusty Bitton; and amid a broader conversation about the encampment of people who have made the area near Rhodes their home. 

"I think the public clearly understands what is happening here. The city of Boise has found a willing partner to renovate an area where the homeless have been living publicly in order to displace them. ... And boy, this project is happening at breakneck speed for City Hall," said ACLU-Idaho Executive Director Greg Morris at the time
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