Mike, an employee at Oliver's Cycle Sports, and Chad at Carrollwood Bicycle Emporium told me the city of Tampa is excluding BMX bicycles at a new Skate Park in New Tampa. I looked into the matter on behalf of SWFBUD and this is what a city of Tampa official had to say:
Dear Mr. Snel,
The message you sent to the City’s Messaging System has been forwarded to my attention. The idea of a Skate Park in New Tampa originated from parents of local skateboarders. As the initial conceptual plans were being developed it was considered to have skateboarders and BMX bikes utilize the skatepark. As we moved forward with our analysis, several issues affected our ultimate decision to not allow BMX bikes at this particular facility. They included increased construction costs to protect every edge with oversized rails, the types of damage bikes and their pegs cause, safety issues, maintenance issues, and decreased ability to provide adequate staff to allow both kinds of users. The decision was presented and discussed at a series of public meetings while we were developing the final design of the skatepark and transitioning from conceptual plans to construction documents.
The timing of the design of the skate park was at a time when prices were soaring. Hitting a budget was a difficult task. Seeing and realizing the amount of damage BMX bikes cause coupled with the associative costs of attempting to fortify the park we realized we could not afford to build a park to withstand bike use. We also realized high maintenance costs would be associated with properly repairing the concrete where pegs literally explode and crater the concrete, along with other documented, typical bike damage.
Another huge factor were the safety concerns of biker-skateboarder collisions. The speed and mass of the biker far outweigh that of a skateboarder. Arguments can be made about different sessions to avoid this, but even if we were able to pay for the construction and repairs, we do not have the money for additional staff to constantly manage Skatepark sessions. The decrease in available operating funding over the past few years has affected how the Parks and Recreation Department can construct and operate facilities.
Our Department has two other sites where skateboarding and bike use are permitted. One is the DeSoto Park Skatepark and the other is located at Perry Harvey Sr. Park. DeSoto has appropriate pre-fab ramps and half-pipes constructed to withstand bikes. Perry Harvey has gentle rounded edges where pegs are not utilized to grind along them. Perry Harvey is open during daylight hours. The DeSoto Skatepark has particular hours of operation. Please contact them at DeSotoCenter.FRC1PO.COTFR@ci.tampa.fl.us.
Please contact me should you have any other questions.
Planning, Design, and Natural Resources
Parks and Recreation Department
City of Tampa