Gone are the days when skaters had to fight the city for the right to skate

City of Ypres teams up with skaters to redesign the skatepark

City of Ypres teams up with skaters to redesign the skatepark

Marijn Verbruggen, the Olympic skateboarding coach for Belgium is one of the event’s organisers

The municipality of Ypres is teaming up with Olympic skateboarding coach Marijn Verbruggen and the young people in the city to redevelop the existing skate park. There will be a major skating event on 31 July where the community can participate and help to shape the new project. This commitment by city authorities has been provoked mainly by the fact that since 2020 skateboarding is an official Olympic sport.   

Skateboarding is in the spotlight

Gone are the days when skaters had to fight for the right to skate. Back then cities did their best to disrupt popular skate spots by installing skate-stoppers or completely removing concrete urban furniture. Skaters are not seen as a nuisance anymore, since the sport has gained an Olympic status.

Now, skateboarding is in the spotlight, and Marijn Verbruggen is one of the main organisers behind the event. He is Belgium’s national skateboarding coach for the Olympic Games. Verbruggen is a 36-year-old skater and he has been on the board since 1998. His career has been completely dedicated to teaching young people how to skate.

There is a problem, however. The current skate park in Ypres on Leopold III-Laan is too small and too old. The city wants to redevelop it. This is why they will hold the skating event on Saturday, with music, workshops and competitions, in an attempt to solicit the participation of the skating community in the city.

The alderman for Youth, Dimitry Soenen explained that it is very important for the city to reach out to the skating youth so that the project can ultimately reflect their needs. This move is provoked by the growing number of skaters in the city and the international recognition the sport is currently receiving.  

Young people will help shape the skatepark by participating in a survey. They can scan a QR code that will lead them to a questionnaire. There, they will have to submit their age, skating discipline and the types of skating devices that are important to them, giving a profoundly important insight into the Ypres skating community.

Alderman Soenen also explained that the new park will be ready next summer at the latest, but in the meantime, the city is looking to rent out a mobile skate park, so skaters will not be short on anything.

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