Creekside Commons Skate Park

Skateboarding is a productive and healthy outdoor activity for all, providing urban youth with a relatively inexpensive outlet; and so the City of Chelsea is thrilled to welcome residents to the Creekside Commons Skate Park, located on the corner of Gillooly Road and Cabot Street.

The Creekside Commons Skate Park is supported by the Chelsea City Council, Unity Within the Community, Chelsea Recreation & Cultural Affairs, and the Community Preservation Fund, managed by the Department of Housing and Community Development.

“The Skate Park is important to the city. It satisfies an untapped need,” said Nick Valentine, an appointed advisor on the Community Recreation Advisory Board. “There are a ton of little kids skateboarding in Chelsea on the streets. That reminds me of myself as a young person. We didn’t have facilities like this. There is a clear need for it. It’s exciting that the city agrees with that.”

An 18-feet-wide by 40-inch-tall half pipe was donated by Orchard Skate Shop, Adidas, and New England Revolution, and installed on September 3.

“It’s already getting heavy use. It’s really exciting,” exclaimed Valentine, who lives one mile away from Creekside Commons Skate Park, and enjoys taking advantage of his proximity by utilizing the ramp.

The half pipe was originally used for a skateboarding event prior to a football game at Gillette Stadium, where 15 professional, Adidas skateboarders performed on the ramp. It was designed to be more durable and allow for easy reassembly at an outdoor community skate park. The half pipe is constructed out of pressure-treated wood, with weather-resistant, Ramp Armor surfacing.

“We’ve been getting great feedback. We’re psyched and happy to support however we can,” said Armin Bachman, Owner, Orchard Skateshop, North End. “I want to thank the City of Chelsea for supporting the skateboarding scene.”

Bachman, an active skateboarder, started his first job in a skate shop in 1996, and feels that New England has been behind in opening skateable, public spaces. Before Creekside Commons Skate Park, the closest facility for skateboarding was the Harborside Community Skatepark at the Umana Barnes Middle School, in East Boston.

“Hopefully the ramp will be an opportunity for the city to see the need for permanent skate facilities, and this will be the catalyst for more things in the future,” expressed Bachman, who has contributed to the arrangement of over 15 skate parks. “You can do a lot with a small space with intelligent design.”

The Creekside Commons Skate Park is situated along the Mill Creek River Walk, beside a playground, bocce lanes, and lounging area. The reimagined space has been built on what had been a roller hockey rink; and resourceful locals have added a flat railing and parking block as obstacles.

The half pipe is the first significant piece to be added to the skate park; and there have been discussions with the City of Chelsea and local skateboard enthusiasts regarding expanding and building upon vacant spaces.

 “I have great ideas,” Valentine alluded. “This is underutilized space, and what is there is not being maintained. The park is already slated for renovations. This might be a good application.”

Plans are underway for the construction of a cement perimeter, and ways to optimally use the available space to accommodate more skaters over the next couple of years. Bachman has been collaborating with the City of Chelsea in visualizing layouts that offer a sense of flow.

Valentine described Bachman as a “fixture of skateboarding in Boston,” and Orchard Skateshop as a “backbone of the Boston skateboarding community.”

If the City of Chelsea does decide to build a larger skateboarding venue, Valentine believes that it would encourage more people to visit the neighborhood.

Chelsea resident, Yessenia Ortiz Rivas – whose child participated in a skateboarding program presented by Chelsea’s Recreation & Cultural Affairs in partnership with the Chill Foundation – feels that Creekside Commons Skate Park is an important addition to the community.  It is a convenient, dedicated outdoor space where families and youth can spend time together.

“This skate park allows the City of Chelsea to continue a growing trend,” explained Valentine, a lawyer and life-long skateboarder.  “East Boston, Somerville, Cambridge, and Boston have skate parks. This is something that is not well-served on this side of the bridge. There is nothing in Everett and Revere.”

Throughout Valentine’s travels, he has found an energetic and positive community to join through skateboarding, and is grateful for the resources that have come together to produce the Creekside Commons Skate Park.

“Having an opportunity to meaningfully give back to a place I call home, and seeing it grow is the best use of my time,” shared Valentine. “Something great is sprouting from the pavement.”

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