Four outdoor skateboard parks are expected to be built in Calgary this year, and as many as 50 could be seen over the next decade.
City officials held the first of three open houses on Tuesday night to unveil their plans.
Many of the skaters who attended the event say they liked what they saw.
"Everybody's going crazy. This is a dream come true — 10 years in the making. We're finally getting the parks we've always wanted,” said Rob Price, who is on the board of the Calgary Association of Skateboard Enthusiasts (CASE).
“I've been skateboarding since the early '70s and I am almost 50. Me and my group are as excited as the 10-year-old kids,” he added.
Construction of the first four parks will start in the fall and are pegged to cost $2 million.
"It's sick. I mean skateboarding's dope and there's not enough places to skate in Calgary so we need more spots,” said 16-year-old skater Stuart Trafford.
Calgary already has one of the largest free outdoor skate parks in North America — the 75,000 square-feet Shaw Millennium Skate Park at the western edge of downtown.
But the city’s ambitious 10-year building plan is a recognition that the sport is getting more popular — and not just in the inner city.
“We have to be able to get these facilities out into the communities that aren’t downtown,” said Greg Dycke, superintendent of sport development with the city’s recreation department.
“Kids are going to skateboard, regardless. So why not provide those facilities for them so they can skateboard in a proper, safe and family friendly environment.”
According to city officials about 35,000 people skateboard at least once a year in Calgary.
"There's only a couple of places like skate church and millennium park that people have to skate in and so many kids come here that it's crowded. More skate parks would be a great idea," said 17-year-old skater Douglas White.
The sites proposed for the parks so far include John Laurie Park in Edgemont, New Brighton athletic recreation park, Quarry Park community centre, Deer Run community centre, Applewood Park, Midsun community centre, Huntington Hills, Henry Wisewood High School, and locations in Shouldice, Bowness and Southwood.
Two more open houses on the plan are currently scheduled:
- Wednesday, Jan. 29: Edgemont Community Association at 33 Edgevalley Circle N.W.
- Thursday, Jan. 30: Southland Leisure Centre at 2000 Southland Drive S.W.