Oskaloosa Urban Park

The Oskaloosa Urban Park project began with a survey of the youth involved in skateboarding and BMX biking in our community. For several years there had been discussion within the community about not having a safe, designated area for this sport. We began to research the project and from the beginning involved the youth in discussion, planning and design of the skate park. The project grew into the vision of a full Urban Park complete with the skate and BMX bike park, gazebo for spectators, and a full basketball court as an added recreation amenity to gain the desired urban park feel.

As planning continued for the skate park component of the Urban Park the committee found that visibility and accessibility are the keys to a successful skate park. Safety was also a priority when designing the skate park. Research showed that a smooth, seamless surface would be the safest choice for the riders. Designs were drawn up with a commercially licensed skate park design company, Spohn Ranch Skate Parks. Spohn Ranch was able to translate our community's vision into a creative yet viable concrete skate park for our community youth to enjoy the sport of their choice. By the end of the project, the unique design and specific features has given our beginner riders the soft space needed to learn the skill as well as our more advanced riders the challenging features to make our park one of the most unique in Iowa. Features praised by both local and visiting riders are those such as an exceptionally smooth concrete surface, layered levels, incorporating streetscape into the park, a built in staircase and plenty of approach space.

The location in the downtown mall parking lot met the visibility, accessibility, and safety demands so thus was designated the optimal choice for a new urban park. The skate park was part of an overall plan for the redevelopment of the north side of Penn Central Mall. Including the basketball court in the Urban Park Plan concentrated the recreational activities within one highly visible location. The gazebo, installed between the two recreational sites, provides an observation place for parents and others to see the skills being developed, as well as place for participants to gather for rest and conversation.