In July 2012 the Parks and Recreation (Park & Rec)
Department of Poplar Bluff, Missouri, dedicated a 19,000
square foot skate park and pedestrian plaza in the heart
of downtown Poplar Bluff. Known as
Skate Plaza," also providing room for spectators, and
green space for work breaks and lunch gatherings.
The vision for the park, ten years in the making, began
when skateboarders approached Clark Allen, director of
Poplar Bluff's Park & Rec Department, requesting an
official skate park since skateboarders were using public
curbs, ledges, ramps, and stairs to hone their skills.
According to Allen, kids who are a part of the
skateboarding culture are often not part of organized
sports. This leaves the community of 17,000 residents
without support for those choosing skateboarding as a
primary physical activity.
Climbing childhood obesity rates also drove the need to
find alternative outlets for physical activity for all
youth. The community decided to apply for a grant from
the Missouri Foundation for Health's (MFH) Healthy and
Active Communities initiative, a program working to
address childhood obesity and fitness.
The $450,000 price tag of the skate park was eventually
- A $250,000 Healthy and Active Communities grant from
- The Poplar Bluffs Parks and Recreation Department
- Private donations
Working with professional sport designers, the Park &
Rec Department made sure the skate park would be
appealing to all levels of skaters and even able to hold
skate competitions and other events.
Goals of the skate park:
- Promote wellness
- Build and strengthen community
- Counteract negative stereotypes
of skateboarders and the skating culture
A skate park video including video of the professional
skateboarders on grand opening day promotes the park: