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Preservation of the existing LOVE Park (JFK Plaza)

This petition had 14,000 supporters

This petition is for the protection and preservation of existing urban features for future generations at LOVE Park. As you are aware, the first nation parks were created to preserve the splendor of America’s natural wonders. As the park system grew it began to protect not only natural wonders but also historic places and places of recreational value.

Philadelphia's JFK Plaza, popularly known as LOVE Park, is the brainchild of former Philadelphia City Planner Edmund Bacon and architect Vincent Kling. Its beautiful design connects the City Hall complex to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The skateboarding culture that its unique design spawned has been a focal point of Philadelphia's international reputation for over a decade.

Unfortunately, despite its international fame and ability to attract youthful energy and interest in the City, it has been illegal to skateboard in LOVE Park since 1995. In 2001, amendments were added to increase fines and scope of the existing ban; enforcement of the skateboarding ban was stepped up significantly thereafter.

While this is unfortunate and in need of examination by the city, this is not the cause I bring to you today.

In the summer of 2002, an attempt was made to render LOVE "unskateable": a facelift that blocked access to the most popular skateboarding areas within the plaza. Similarly, the famed skate spot in back of City Hall was recently destroyed in city hall renovations. Today, the whole of LOVE Park is threatened with destruction. Philadelphia has been working with a private contractor to redesign the square. The proposed designs consist of a total gutting of LOVE Park and a replacement of the iconic gap, stairs, concrete and fountain with “green-space.” This plan must not go forward. A new park could be built anywhere but history can not be moved.

While we can’t expect development to stop completely, we have to stop mass destruction, especially mass destruction at the hand of the city and state. Actions must be taken or the most important area in skateboarding history will not be around for our children to inherit. As we are not building this nation for a generation alone, I urge that you take this request under consideration.

We urge for an immediate end to the redesign. We ask that the park be left as is to;

A- protect the history of Philadelphia’s rich skateboarding heritage and 

B- preserve the natural street skating venues and created urban landscapes for future generations.

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has to expand its parks and its conception of “historical spaces”. With a changing nation, our parks too much change to reflect the ideals and philosophies of the people. So many extraordinary skate areas have been destroyed simply for the sake of rending them "unskateable.” A state so rich in history must be able to appreciate that destruction of a culture is simply not acceptable. As of now,LOVE Park is extraordinarily vulnerable. Please help to preserve our rich legacy.

Pennsylvania is accredited with more firsts than can be counted. The time has come once again for Pennsylvania to set a precedent and lead our nation forward by recognizing the important role that skateboarding has played in our evolving nation. 

Today: James is counting on you

James Byers needs your help with “Pennsylvania Governor, Philadelphia: Preservation of the existing LOVE Park (JFK Plaza)”. Join James and 13,999 supporters today.