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A skate park for Bremerhaven!

By Dipl.-Ing. U. Bartels (BIS Bremerhavener Gesellschaft für Investitionsförderung und Stadtentwicklung mbH /Geschäftsbereich Infrastruktur)

Photo

The harbour tunnel construction project currently under way in Bremerhaven is a huge undertaking. The tunnel will provide a perfect link with the A27 motorway while also alleviating the situation of local residents, who currently suffer the consequences of huge traffic volumes. Traffic will be channelled in a split-level link from the A27 feeder to the international port and containers 1-4. This route runs along existing roads but veers in the central area, where it runs through residential areas.

Under the plans drawn up, two earth sculptures will be created by Leherheide park ‒ so-called landscape structures. Made from excavated materials, they are intended to become recreation areas for local residents. However, the old skate park in the park, which features a mini ramp, bowl and small street ramps, had to make way. 

A proposed replacement on the western edge of the park was included in the special planning procedure for the tunnel construction project. In autumn 2012 a workshop took place involving children and youths, most of whom were users of the old park. Although the workshop was publicly announced, most of the participants were local users, who significantly influenced the final plan.

The aim was to create a facility for bikers and skaters of similar quality to the one it was replacing. The basic concept was developed in four meetings with the skate park designer Ingo Naschold from DSGN Concepts. With the support of the parks department, the Bremerhaven Gesellschaft für Investitionsförderung und Stadtentwicklung mbH (Bremerhaven Economic Development Company), the management of the park and the local streetworker, the ideas of the approximately 30 youths were taken into account and shaped into a coherent concept by DSGN Concepts in partnership with the Planungsbüro Gerdes planning practice. In doing so they focused on design as well as functionality: from a bird's eye perspective the park looks like an open eye and hopefully will also soon be visible on satellite images. Through elevation differences with functional elements the skate park creates a flowing dynamic for sports use with scope for creativity.

The facility was divided into two areas to cater for the different requirements of skateboarders and BMX riders. BMX riders were provided with large wooden ramps for jumping while skateboarders got smaller elements and functionally designed rolling areas. This means each sport has specific areas where its needs in terms of form and materials are catered for. The BMX area features a large quarter with a jump box and spine on a riding line that ends in a mini ramp. Due to the specific handling features and requirements of BMXs, the ramps in this section are larger and made from wood and the ground is asphalted. The different materials have also been used to enhance safety and alleviate the impact of falls, because BMX riders land from greater heights when performing tricks. The need for different sized ramps for skateboarders and BMX riders and the different dynamics of these sports were behind the decision to divide the park into different areas. This means there is less scope for collisions between users.

The concrete skateboard area is the largest section of the park and runs over several levels. The levels are linked with prefabricated elements supplied by the Concrete® Skate Parks company. The park's focal point is the iris of the eye. This is the central element made up of a combination of banks, curbs, ledges and rails. Slopes run in a symmetrical arc around the iris with further obstacles for more technical tricks.

The approximately €600,000 spent on this 1500 m2 facility represents an effective investment in the youth, sports offering and marketing of the city of Bremerhaven.

From the outset children and young people expressed their willingness to get involved in the construction project. While they were naturally unable to help with the preparatory groundwork and concreting, the IOU Ramps company was happy for the young people to assist with the installation of the BMX ramps.

The park opened in December 2014 and was a great hit over the winter period. Happily it has suffered relatively little vandalism compared with other areas of the park, which may be due to its popularity with skateboarders, BMXers and spectators.

The parks department has had great success in involving children and youths in the park's maintenance, and many turn up equipped with brooms to keep the facility clear of leaves. The aim is to foster a deep feeling of ownership among the users.

The Skateboarding BMX initiative in Bremerhaven, ISBIB for short – a newly-established club for skateboarders and BMXers – strives to attract more children to the sports and is already planning a major supraregional event to be staged this year.

 

Statements

Börje – BMXer:

"The park has been a great success and is fantastic fun."

Julius – skateboarder:

"The planning and execution were great. I was involved in the planning and it's great that everything has turned out as we imagined."

Leonhardt – BMXer:

"It's definitely the top place in Bremerhaven and easily has as much to offer as other parks."

Noah – BMXer:

"The concrete surface is cool ...it dries as quick as a flash."

Klaus Friedrichs – park manager:

"We're very proud and very pleased to have built such a great, modern skate park on our site. It's a real asset."

 

Participants:

Project developer: City of Bremerhaven

Project management: BIS Bremerhavener Gesellschaft für Investitionsförderung und Stadtentwicklung mbH, Bremerhaven (Bremerhaven Economic Development Company)

Planning: Planungsbüro Jens Gerdes, Oldenburg

Skate park design: DSGN Concepts Ingo Naschold, Münster

 

Photo: Stadt Bremerhaven, DSGN Concepts Ingo Naschold

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