Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney was joined Wednesday morning by several city officials as they officially broke ground on the renovation of LOVE Park, set to be completed by Spring 2017. But it was what Kenney did after the ceremony that made headlines.
In a press conference after the groundbreaking, Kenney officially reopened the park to skateboarders, ending a 14-year ban instituted by Mayor John Street in 2002.
Even though skaters have been coming to LOVE Park long before Mayor Street’s ban was put into place, and long after, the renovation plans are set to kick-off on Monday. This means skaters can only take advantage of the now ban-free LOVE Park for three full days.
But skaters don’t see it as a welcoming gesture by Mayor Kenney. Many see it as the death of a long standing Philadelphia institution, with several comparing it to losing a member of their family.
“I’ve been all around the world,” one skater said, “Italy, London, California. There’s nothing like this place. People come from all around the world to skate here.”
And with plunging temperatures expected this weekend, there’s no telling how many skaters will miss out on the hassle-free skating.
“This should have been done almost 20 years ago.”