Albany planning a skatepark for Washington Park

go skateboarding day 2013

From Go Skateboarding Day in Washington Park in 2013.

The city of Albany announced Thursday that a skate park is being planned for Washington Park. And there's a public info session about it lined up for Thursday, November 13 from 6-8 pm at Bleecker Stadium. From a press release:

Department of Recreation staff will provide a brief overview of the planning effort and an introduction the city's vision for the proposed skateboard park at Washington Park. The public is invited to provide suggestions on issues, impacts and considerations that should be addressed in the creation of a draft plan and draft environmental impact statement.
People unable to attend the meeting may provide written comments by Friday, November 28, 2014 to: Elisabeth Draper, Deputy Commissioner, City of Albany Department of Recreation, 7 Hoffman Ave, Albany, NY 12209.

Draper* says the city is looking at converting four currently underutilized tennis courts into the skatepark. That location -- "The Blue Banks" -- has been used for Go Skateboarding Day events in the past.

A skate park for Albany has been on the wish list of a lot of skaters for a long time. As Dylan Longton, the local organizer of Go Skateboarding Day, pointed out to us last year, skaters get hassled for skating at places like the Soldiers and Sailors Monument, but the city lacks a place where it's explicitly allowed.

"I'm stoked on the movement finally," Longton said to us Thursday via text, adding he'd like to offer input on the design of the park. "[The] location is perfect and a lot of skateparks are made on old washed up tennis courts and the way the Blue Banks are it is already a great foundation to have something to offer for all styles of skating and bmxing."

Added Longton in a follow-up text: "And a shoutout to Trev [Trevor Culley] at Seasons Skateshop for going to the council meetings and staying with the skatepark movement."

Earlier on AOA:
+ In the park for Go Skateboarding Day
+ A concrete vision of the future for skateparks in the Capital Region?

*Elisabeth Draper has written for AOA a few times in years past.


It's great to see the city going forward with this. I'll be at this meeting.

I'd like to encourage proactively-minded parents of young children to think about attending this meeting. When your kids get older they very well may gravitate toward skateboarding and this skatepark (and maybe they'll gravitate to skateboarding BECAUSE of this skatepark...) The positives of skating are many: it's cheap; you can do it almost anytime, by yourself, in small groups or in large groups; it's not an organized sport and therefore no time schedules or practices and no coaches yelling at you/no crazed parent yelling at the coach/no refs/no adults at all; the focus is on fun for the sake of fun (as opposed to winning); the challenging of oneself is ongoing and basically limitless; and, perhaps most importantly, at its essence skateboarding invokes that pure childhood spirit of "play", even at the highest levels.

This has got to happen! The benefits are outstanding for everyone. Schenectady and Albany have a huge skate schene on the rise. This is the the perfect time and place to start a park for skaters. We all lack a safe and hassle free place ride our skateboards. I believe that the youth in the Albany and Schenectady areas will be less in the streets and more into the upcoming skate schene. Our city has a lot of "At risk" youth and this would be great for them to stay out of trouble. I will definitely be in attendance.

This looks great! What a good way to use public space. Skateboarders get hounded everywhere they go around Washington Park, including monuments and churches (Jesus would *never* ride a skateboard!). Skaters need and deserve a place to call their own. Also: Albany will become just a tiny bit cooler.

While I agree about the need for the skate park I'm not so sure on the edge of the park location. I think it needs to be in more of the middle of Washington Park so the scraping and slamming noises the boards make don't drive the people with homes along the Park nuts....

Lincoln Park would have been a better venue, especially since the tennis courts there have been abandoned.

Great! my 7 year old just took up skating on vacation in a park in MA. I hope they also include time for BMX bikes!

Will this stop the skate boarders from rolling down my side walk , and wakeing me up at all kind of hours? I have heard, and seen them jump off my neighbors storefront , while taking pictures, over , and over again. They almost collide with me walking in front of my house, and they swear at me!. There is a city ordinance against them doing that on city streets that is mostly ingnored. Hope this skateboard park puts an end to bad behavior.

Fantastic News.. I Love this.
Really hope that It Happens...

All for a skate park, just curious how many tennis courts will be left? I know the article says the park would use four courts, but I am trying to picture which four... I always find that the tennis courts are pretty much always full in the warm months.

Actually a number of the courts were skating currently occurs (2-3) don't current have net and haven't for a number of years. As such, no further negative impact to the "tennis" courts.

@N: Probably the four tennis courts that are in the embedded pic. And they're not really tennis courts anymore and haven't been for quite some time. They're at the southeast corner of the courts/hoops near the intersection of Madison and Robin.

I lived across the street for awhile and actually loved the sound of skateboarders, no matter what time of day or night. To me, the sound = socializing, fun, and exercise.

This plan looks great and I hope it happens.

Awesome! I'm so glad the city is working on this and very impressed to read the comments here in support of it. My hometown in Vermont went through all kinds of trouble trying to do pretty much the same thing, and I'm not sure they ever accomplished it.

I had the same concern as N, but looking on Google Maps, it appears there are four "tennis courts" without nets that descend toward New Scotland, and fit with the name Blue Banks. The photos from the event linked above show these are the same ones already used by skaters all summer long. So it seems to address N's concern about the current number of tennis courts - none of the ones in use would be used; it also addresses LLL's concerns about noise since this location is already chock full of skaters all summer long.

so glad we will finally have a local park! this is probably the best decision Albany has made ever.

The tennis courts used to be in full use all the time. Tennis tournaments used to be held there also. People would wait for a court to open up. Then the skateboarders started to skate past tennis players and disrupt them during their games, making it not a fun place to play tennis. They then took over the courts to skate around the nets and later tore them down or set fire to them, and then dismantled the net poles and the chain link fences that used to be there, thus creating their skate park. The yearly inner city kids' tennis clinic ceased because they no longer had enough courts for all the children to use. Also, they broke the gates to the handball courts and infringed upon those recreational areas also. I remember the one year they tore down the chain link fence in the handball court above the basketball court just so they could skate-dive down. The Mayor and city were fully aware of this happening. City tax dollars down the drain.

Great that a skate park will be created but what other park sites have been looked at? Why not repair the tennis courts to what they once were? Will skate boarding tournaments be held in the future? If yes, then how will this impact the surrounding neighborhood. Perhaps Lincoln Park or Corning Preserve should also be looked at as potential sites. Those areas could support an even larger skateboard park and tournament events. It is about time that a skateboard park is created in Albany but don't rule out other sites. In fact, I think there should be more than one skate park.

@Madison Manor: Great sob story. Your cartoon-like recollection of how the courts were taken over by Bart Simpson-esque skateboarders is historical revisionism (I was there during the late 90s, early 2000s when this happened).

Besides, trying to get people to side with tennis players over skateboarders is like trying to convince people to side with Shooter McGavin over Happy Gillmore. Good luck with that.

Everyone in this town has been waiting for something like this forever last week I drove 1 hour just get to a skatepark. Lets get it done

could you follow up on this. there's been little to no movement since albany held the meeting, and the lack of movement should be reported in the media. thanks!

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