In regards to the campaign to save the Bro Bowl and the redevelopment plans for Perry Harvey Sr. Park, the Suncoast Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation would like to offer full support of preservation efforts.
The mission of the Surfrider Foundation is the “protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches.” Although this does not delineate “skateparks,” the Bro Bowl may be the closest thing that we have to surfing in our concrete jungle of downtown Tampa. The surf and skate community have always had close ties, and when we were approached by the Skateboarding Heritage Foundation, we offered our full support for preservation efforts.
The facts of the past are clear, yet division lies in our community with how to proceed. Our local skateboarding community is being forcefully divided by the city of Tampa to choose between creating a new, progressive skatepark that can only enhance the development of the sport, and preserving the rich and diverse history of an iconic place to skateboard. Representatives from Skatepark of Tampa have also referred to the Bro Bowl as the “best investment Tampa ever made.” Even Tony Hawk asserted during an interview with the Skateboarding Heritage Foundation to “please keep skating’s history alive for future generations.”
We are being told to support the demolition for the “new” or support the preservation of the “old,” which will ultimately delay and reduce the development of the beautiful new skatepark that SPoT and Team Pain have meticulously planned for years. There is no question as to what a new skatepark would provide to our community, but at what cost and why must we choose sides?
For those who support the preservation of the Bro Bowl and Perry Harvey Sr. Park, there is no vested interest. There is no replacing the landmark culture and history that it brings to our community if it is demolished. Two wrongs cannot make a right. In order for us to honor its significance and contribution, we of the skateboarding community must find a way to coexist and together create a park that achieves both goals of preservation and progression. Let our hands work together to build, not break, the bonds shared between the concrete.
Alexis A. Clarkson
The writer is the Suncoast Chapter Board secretary of the Surfrider Foundation.