New Skate Park Under I-95 Overpass Opening in 2015

Categories: Around Town

skate-park-nick-katz.jpg
Photo by Matt Roy
Skate Free partner and pro skater Danny Fuenzalida skating at the former Grand Central Park
Skaters haven't always been embraced by city officials, much less considered a positive influence on the community. Remember the early '00s and that spate of skater stereotypes? Yeah, that.

But thanks to Nick Katz and his efforts with Skate Free, skate enthusiasts are starting to get the attention of Miami leaders.

A graduate of New World School of the Arts and avid skater, Katz and team have been looking for creative ways to foster a sense of community -- both for skaters and everyone else. And now, they've been named a winner in the Miami Foundation's Public Space Challenge. Their project, a skate park and community green space, will transform the currently defunct nothingness under I-95 at the MPA Lot 11 at NW Third Ave. and First Street.

See also: Free Library to Make Metrorail Ride a Lot More Pleasant

After Katz and several others helped create the now-closed Grand Central Park, they were inspired to do more.

"We put in some of our own money to create a paved 20,000 square-foot platform. Miami-Dade donated some benches, people donated mini ramps, and from there we started to actually work with concrete. We let the kids design and build their own obstacles -- ultimately it became a skate park and lasted about a year."

After that, Katz started checking out other global cities and seeing what knowledge he could glean from their efforts.

"I went traveling to cities like Toronto, New York, Paris, Madrid -- all had awesome well-designed skate parks in their center city."

"I've been taking notes on successes and failures in these public spaces.The way I envision it is, I want our organization, Skate Free, to create a groundbreaking public space -- something that's never been seen before here in South Florida," Katz explains.

skate-park-rendering.jpg
Courtesy of Nick Katz
Preliminary skate park design.
"I wanted to get the ball rolling for what we could do to have a centrally located skate park that could bring all different kids from the greater Miami area to the center of the city."

So, he applied for the Miami Foundation's Public Space Challenge, and the idea for a public skate park and green space under an I-95 overpass scored a winning spot.

The space won't just be for skaters, Katz says. It'll be designed to appeal to all members of the community. The plan as listed on the Public Space Challenge site includes a "50/50 green space and concrete skate plaza that includes a 200-square-foot sculpture garden, 1000-square-foot dog park, 2000-square-foot play ground, 16,800-square-foot of green space, and a 20,000-square-foot skatepark."

"The dream would be to have an incredible linear park like the High Line in NYC or Templehof Park in Berlin," Katz tells Cultist. "I really want to knock it out of the park, no pun intended."

Currently, they're looking for corporate sponsors and getting the design work underway.

As far as timeline, Katz is thinking July 2015. So if you haven't done an ollie since 2002, your chance is coming.

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82 comments
esf4life88
esf4life88

What the city doesn't realize is that many kids from broken homes and bad neighborhoods can be saved by skateboarding , skateboarding is the most progressive sport and style of art , the city could even benefit economically from it , 've seen so many young kids from the ages of 12 to 15 wasting their time hustling through drugs , you give these kids skateboarding and they'll get hyped on it instead of all the other bullshit because this is a different type of activity that is more fascinating than all other common team sports , it's unbelievable that the miami metro area doesn't have skateparks, a policeman yelled at me to get a car and drive to a skatepark and I responded NO I live in the main part of the city me and my friends are from here and we shouldn't have to go all the way to buttfuck Egypt to do what we love without being bothered , bayfront spot full of bums ,drug addicts and alcoholics is a spot where us skaters have to run from police , they wouldn't let us keep the red bull spot, Grand Central got torn to build highrises ,  thats ok , but to try nd abolish skateboarding is a dumb idea because we love what we do and we will never stop , they'll have to kill us all, don't bring up liability issue bullshit because everything that exist  is a liability.

JeaneMarie Almulla
JeaneMarie Almulla

OPEN BAR for Ladies, BEER PONG, $100 bottles -20&Collins Barezzito South Beach

ffbastias
ffbastias

Con un skatepark ademas se puede dejar más hermosa la ciudad y utilizar un espacio abandonado.

Exito

ffbastias
ffbastias

Buenisima idea para que los skaters puedan tener su propio lugar para patinar

lizatri
lizatri

I am so excited for the new park. My son KJ

Has been skating for yrs. Skating is his passion.It is a shame that Skaters are viewed

Poorly. Because there are so many fine young

People that love this Sport. It is an Art

a True Art to Skateboard. Imagine you need lots of balance and plenty of talent to do what

They do on a board.We can not wait for this

wonderful park to open. I want to Thank all

of you wonderful people for making this happen. Miami truely needs a skate park like this. It is about time for skaters to have a wonderful skate park at home. Thank's again

Lisa

supersmash53
supersmash53

If you buy your child a skateboard he will end up a drop out. Skateparks attract delinquents, drugs, graffiti, vandalism, violence, litter, and noise. Why not use the space for wholesome sports clubs and develop athletes who can compete for the city, state, and nation, instead of actively developing a generation of delinquents?

Joyce E McClintock
Joyce E McClintock

Well, skaters haven't always been a positive influence on communities....but good luck to the ones that are! David Viggiano ; )

Michael del Vice
Michael del Vice

Ahh yes, that beautiful sound of bones braking and nuts crushing on grind rails.

Jason Justice
Jason Justice

That is awesome...need to get a new board Norkys Pascual!!

Sergio Herrera
Sergio Herrera

Next to river by Jose Marti? I remember going to a city meeting about that park 6-7 yrs ago

Andrew Connelly
Andrew Connelly

Why does it take the ENTIRE east coast so long to catch up to whats going on???!

David Pavon Jr.
David Pavon Jr.

Steve Ortiz Sergio Herrera Gory Go Gerard Perez-Viana

Jason Henry
Jason Henry

Way to go boys! Danny Fuenzalida Matt Roy and crew!

Jason Winburn
Jason Winburn

What a great use of space. Miami is pretty awesome.

Leo Coutinho
Leo Coutinho

oh nice! Adriana i might just dust off the old bike lol... Matt Dillon Steven Mark (prob bikes are not allowed HA)

esf4life88
esf4life88

@supersmash53 Delinquents? delinquents are the people that run this city since the 80's, skateboarding gave me life , I met awesome people, got to know places , taught me things like filming, photography, cementing , gave me freedom with no rules or limits, creativity , as far as I know kids smoke their first joint in high school , drugs are in basketball courts too , skateboarding is the most progressive and innovative sport and also one of the most creative works of art , team sports only generate money and not even half the kids that play sport here in miami will make it to the nba , the nfl etc , skateboarding here in Miami will develop real talented "athletes"

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