JOPLIN, Mo. — Since 2015, Joplin Skatepark has been attracting guests from near and far who want to join in on the fun of skateboarding, biking, scootering and more. At any given time, day or night, the skatepark is hosting visitors.
The well-used skatepark features one light post in the middle of the park that consists of four lights. With parts of the park left unilluminated, danger zones are created by shadows, making the park difficult to use after dark.
Joplin local Tom Walters says it “adds an extra hurdle to whatever you’re trying to do.”
Advocates of the park are pushing for the installation of more lighting in the skatepark to omit those danger zones, improve the park and its appeal, allow for its use at all hours, and limit the possibility of other dangerous situations.
“There are people here every single night, the lights are definitely a must-have,” said Walters.
On Monday night, Walters presented the idea to Joplin City Council at a meeting.
The city has current plans to install more lighting in the park upon the renewal of the Parks and Stormwater 1/4-Cent Sales Tax proposition, but Walters believes it is still important to push this initiative. The proposition will be voted for in the next City of Joplin Election on August 3, 2021.
Locals also want shade to be added to the park and bathrooms to be reinstalled where they once were.
The more the park is improved, the more people will be visiting the park and spending money in Joplin, says Walters.
“People are continuously coming to this park because it’s designed better and built better than the parks there [surrounding cities],” he said. But there is still work to be done.
As skateboarding was just added to the Olympics this year, the validity of the sport is confirmed now more than ever. Supporting your local skatepark keeps riders safe, encourages a healthy community and could even be preparing the next Olympian for greatness.