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The Bachman Lake Skate Park - Clown Ramp Redux

The Gaps in Planning

The Skate Park sounds like it will be amazing and the plans for massive regional competitions will bring lots of business to the area. It's concerning that Dallas has done nothing to prepare for access to such events despite the fact that this location was picked way back in 2017! We've invited City Council, City Staff and Park Board Members to the Neighbors in the Know community meeting on August 4th to make sure that your voices, those of the neighbors surrounding the park, can be heard.

We've got questions and so should you:

  • If DART is the main method for access to the skatepark, are kids expected to cross two busy streets and a rail line?

  • Trees were cut for the Aquatic Center and 40,000 square feet of cement are going to be added to the park. How is this helping address the heat cone in this area of Dallas?

  • How will access to the skate park be controlled after 10PM?

  • Where will patrons park?

  • How do patrons get from the skatepark to the Bachman Lake Trail and the Aquatic Center?

  • What will be done for bathrooms on park grounds? The current ones are broken and not maintained.

Who or What is Team Pain?

Skate Parks for Dallas, with the Dallas Parks Foundation, is working to build Dallas's first public, concrete skatepark. That skatepark is going to be located in the Northwest corner of Bachman Lake Park, a nod to Bachman Lake's historical ties to skating and its easy access to the DART Bachman Station!

A virtual meeting was held on July 13th with 42 excited skaters, Council Member Omar Narvaez, park board representatives Fonya Mondell (District 2), Tim Dickey (District 6) and Daniel Wood (District 7). Also in attendance were several senior administrators from the Park and Recreation Department and, of course, the skatepark design firm, Team Pain.

Team Pain is a Florida-based skate park specialist group creating cutting edge skate parks world-wide for over 30 years. The company is comprised of experienced skateboarders and this passion for the sport helps them provide a unique and highly specialized product. They are keen to take into consideration all skaters, from top professional to novice. You can check out the gallery or a video of their impressive work for yourself.

Tim Pain, the Team Pain CEO (now you've figured that out), stressed that the possibilities are endless for features to put into the skatepark. He stated that his team strives to make every park unique with special one-of-a-kind features to set that park apart from others. They've installed details in other parks like acid-stain colored concrete, granite and marble features, and even flagstone. Bottom line: Tim Pain says his team wants to design and build something that isn’t already found at other skateparks in the area and is also designed to accommodate large events and even regional competitions.

Mr. Pain also noted that the company is allied with a non-profit that provides free refurbished skateboards to kids who might not have the resources to buy a new one.

As the meeting progressed, dozens of participants posted comments, ideas and suggestions on what should be in the skatepark. The meeting was chock-full of dedicated skaters, with a host of interesting opinions. Among the ideas proposed was an insistence to have a “beginners bowl” where newbies could learn. Other ideas were presented, like building a “quarter pipe” like the architectural ones at NorthPark Mall, that skaters have been drooling over for years but have been unable to skate on for obvious reasons.

The Clown Ramp

DMN photo taken in 1990 by Louis DeLuca.
Skateboarder 'on approach' near Love Field.

Believe it or not, Bachman Lake was ground zero for the Dallas skate scene in the mid 80s, thanks to the once-popular Clown Ramp. Skating was free and the ramp was lit at night like a pinball machine so there was always someone riding it or just hanging out enjoying the scene.

The abundance of action there drew lots of attention, especially on the weekends. Eventually, a popular surface known as the Blue Ramp was brought over and joined the Clown Ramp to make an impressive structure. You can find some cool photos and videos detailing the scene. The photo above won an award for Dallas Morning News senior photographer Louis DeLuca. The video below is a great snippet in time:

Finally, there were the contests, when pros from all over the country would converge on Bachman Lake for the weekend. They almost always wanted the locals to take them to favorite local skate spots, and Bachman Lake was the place! The decline in skateboarding's popularity in the late 80's eventually led to the ramps being dismantled and the skater scene relegated to obscurity in Northwest Dallas.

Ramping up Hope

We're now at a new crossroads, with an opportunity to not only revive the free spirit of the skateboarding enthusiasts, but to truly make Bachman Lake the recreational hub it deserves to be again, even if you might not need a ride home.



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