Looking to the Future: High Point Skatepark


State High skaters walk through downtown Photo Credits: Beatriz Braga

Abby Vance, Staff Writer

State College has many great qualities. From its beautiful forests to its amazing food. But, there is something missing–A skate park. Well, State College may be in luck. Currently, committees are working on the High Point Skatepark project; a project that could bring together skaters from all over State College. The 20,000-square-foot park would replace an unused baseball field at High Point Park, which is a six-acre park off of Whitehall Road. It is reachable by car or bike, only one mile away from State High and Delta, and 1.7 miles from the center of downtown. It is also BMX (bicycle motocross), skateboarding, scootering, roller skating, and wheelchair friendly. The design has areas and flow lines specifically built for those in wheelchairs. The skatepark is designed by local pro-skater and business owner, Jake Johnson, who co-founded IQ Skateshop on Pugh Street. 

There are many reasons for the skatepark to be reality, three of those being improvement of health, resilience, and solid community building. The High Point Skatepark website explains how kids were often isolated during the pandemic, forming anxiety and depression. With the skatepark, the kids could have fun with friends while also improving their mental and physical health. The skatepark would also build resilience, since tricks are rarely landed on the first try. Finally, it would build a connected community. No two skaters are the same, but they share the same love for their sport. 

High Point Skatepark is not a new idea. According to the High Point Skatepark website, “In 2018, a Comprehensive Recreation, Parks, and Open Space Plan prepared by Centre Region Council of Governments (COG) Steering Committee in consultation with the Centre Region Parks and Recreation (CRPR) recommended the development of an action sports park. Later, an action sports park committee was formed and their proposal was approved by the borough. The park was included in the Capital Improvement Plan and $200,000 in funding was earmarked for construction.”

Not only is this project supported locally, but also nationally. Tony Hawk, the legendary skateboarder and entrepreneur, supported this through his non-profit program, The Skatepark Project, and donated $30,000.

Of course, State High students are more than excited about this project. There have been whispers of conversation amongst them about the skatepark. Avid skater, freshman Spencer Stevenson-Peck said, “We got the skate shop recently, so there has been a big increase in the skater community in State College. It would be great for us to have a designated spot for us to skate without there being a threat of people not wanting us to skate there.” 

Not only are students thrilled, but so are teachers. Social Studies teacher Melissa Gartner, said, “I would imagine skaters will skate wherever they have the opportunity, which may or may not be in locations that are safe or have the best alternatives, but they’re looking for an outlet to express themselves. If there were a real skatepark, with specialty constructed ramps and facilities to let them develop their talents and exercise their bodies, I really think that would be a boost for our community.”

With so much suspense, it only makes people wonder about the current status of the project. From the High Point Skatepark website, they have secured $1.1 million. This includes $500k from the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, $250,000 PA Department of Community and Economic Development, $200,000 from State College Borough, $100,000 in in-kind Local Donations, and $30,000 from the Skatepark Project. However, they still need to raise an estimated $35,000 of their $50,000 from the community. Their end goal is $1.9 million.

This is where students can help, find out more and donate at: https://highpointskatepark.com/