By Mark Atkinson
Bethlehem Recreation Coordinator
The city’s mission was to establish a world-class skateplaza that would be unrivaled in its progressive design and size. The goal was to involve skateboarders and BMXers in the design process to ensure that it would be of the caliber to make it one of the top skateplazas on the east coast.
The development of the Skateplaza has expanded the city’s recreation program by providing a new south Bethlehem facility for local sport enthusiasts and one that is even capable for hosting extreme sport events and a multitude of community activities ranging from small concerts to community art shows and more.
The Skateplaza also produces economic benefits for the community. It has become a destination for skateboarders and BMXers regionally, statewide, and beyond. Since its construction, the Skateplaza has hosted one national and one internationally known event.
Besides addressing the demand for this type of action sport facility and promoting programs to support the changing recreation trends in the 21st century, the Skateplaza has evolved into a place where social skills are learned. Cultural and socioeconomic barriers disappear and users communicate face to face instead of through text or email. Age does not matter, and the more experienced help the less experienced. The users of the Plaza take full ownership of it, keeping it clean of litter, graffiti, and unruly users. We have only had one major incident of vandalism in over six years.