Charles River Conservancy Lynch Family Skatepark

Lynch Family Skatepark

In 2015, the Charles River Conservancy celebrated the opening of the Lynch Family Skatepark in North Point Park in Cambridge, a project that the CRC led the planning, design and construction of. The CRC remains grateful to the many donors who made the skatepark possible!

Fast forward to today: the park, owned and maintained by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), hosts a vibrant community of skate park athletes, creatives, and recreational visitors. The CRC is excited to embark on a public art process at the skatepark.

Photo by Julia Figueiral (@julia.figueiral), POLISHED Magazine(@bostonpolished)

PUBLIC ART PROJECT

The Charles River Conservancy is excited to pursue an opportunity and consider a transformation of this park using public art as a conduit for social and spatial resilience. With the goal of supporting and strengthening the park’s physical and social infrastructure, the CRC has embarked on a community-led design process that will culminate into a public artwork that celebrates park users and invites new audiences to the riverfront.

PROJECT GOALS

  1. Produce art in tandem with community co-leaders that is reflective of the skatepark and its community.
  2. Support physical space by fostering a sense of shared responsibility for its care.
  3. Enhance social resiliency of the park by opening dialogue among users that can ensure the skatepark is a welcoming space for all.

SOCIAL JUSTICE SKATE JAM

The community engagement kick off on October 6 centered skatepark users and their feedback on how the Lynch Family Skatepark can be improved socially and physically to better support the skate experience. The CRC partnered with the Cambridge Hip-Hop Collective, Community Art Center, LonelyBones Skate Co., and the Chill Foundation to join a dialogue on park advocacy and cultivate ideas about how public art can be used as a conduit for social resilience.

Photos by Clyde Carmant

FORUM SERIES

Following the Skate Jam, the CRC will host a series of community visioning forums to develop a community driven selection process for a public artwork. These forums are designed in partnership with project co-leaders and local organizations to engage the wider community in open conversations that address the complexities of social, spatial, and environmental justice at the skatepark. The CRC and project co-leaders are eager to listen to park users and visitors’ preferences for change, discuss place-based inequities, and develop a selection strategy for an impactful public artwork at the Lynch Family Skatepark that represents the community which designed it.

SUPPORTERS

This program is supported in part by a grant from Cambridge Arts, a local agency which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency. We are thankful for the support of these agencies that have made preliminary spatial justice conversations possible.

Interested in supporting community visioning forums on Spatial Justice? Contact Laura Jasinski at ljasinski@thecharles.org

PARTNERS

We are grateful to our partners who have joined initial spatial justice conversations and have openly engaged with the CRC to organize next steps in developing community visioning forums.

Have a question or want to get involved? Contact Taylor Leonard, tleonard@thecharles.org.


A NOTE ABOUT PARK OPERATION: The Lynch Family Skatepark is owned and maintained by the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR). The park is open from dawn to 9:00 pm. Lights were installed during the fall of 2018 to allow for park operation past dusk through a partnership between the City of Cambridge and DCR. Safety gear is strongly encouraged, and while you are in the park, you are recreating at your own risk.


LOCATION

The skatepark is located in East Cambridge beneath the access ramps to I-93’s iconic Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge. It is also adjacent to the North Bank Bridge, a newly constructed pedestrian bridge connecting North Point Park in Cambridge to Paul Revere Park in Charlestown.

CONSTRUCTING THE LYNCH FAMILY SKATEPARK

The Lynch Family Skatepark was a major capital project of the Charles River Conservancy. What began as an idea by renowned sculptor Nancy Schön, famous for her Tortoise and Hare and Make Way For Ducklings sculptures in Copley Square and the Boston Public Garden respectively, was carried forward by the CRC with major support from the local skateboarding community. (Hear from Nancy herself about the importance of this park, courtesy of New England Cables News.)

The planning began in 2000, and in 2004, the CRC began to raise funds from individual donors and foundations for the project. Fundraising for the Lynch Family Skatepark began with a seed grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation. Fundraising was given a major boost in 2007 when the Lynch Foundation put up a matching grant of $500,000, and in 2014 when the CRC signed a partnership agreement with Vans for $1.5M towards construction. The skatepark would not exist without the help of these major donors and countless other supporters, whICH you can see here.

The CRC hired Stantec to design the park, which was then constructed by ValleyCrest Landscape Development with specialty work completed by California Skateparks. The “wheel-friendly” park is designed to accommodate skateboarders, BMX riders, and inline skaters and will include access around the skate plaza for spectators who wish to watch the athletes in action. Once construction was completed, the park has been turned over to the CRC’s project partner, DCR, who manages the public facility.

Photo of Sculptor Nancy Schön, Mayor Marty Walsh, CRC Founder Renata von Tscharner, and Peter Lynch of the Lynch Foundation at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of the Lynch Family Skatepark. Photo by Topher Baldwin.

Skateboarder at the Lynch Family Skatepark. Photo by Topher Baldwin.

The skatepark, designed by more than 400 local skaters and skateboarding professionals, including World Champion Andy MacDonald, has the capacity to support community clinics, events, and world-class competitions. Thanks to their involvement, skateboarders of all abilities have the opportunity to experience street, transitional, and bowl elements including replica features of unique skate areas throughout greater Boston to acknowledge local lore and pay homage to Boston’s skating community.

Creating Skate Space from Leslie Tuttle on Vimeo.

An Emerson student tells the story of the formation of the idea of the Lynch Family Skatepark and showcases its wide usage today by people of all ages in the Boston area.

PRESS

Video Coverage of the Skatepark Opening, November 14, 2016
“Elevating Boston’s Skateboarding Scene” created by Stantec
Cambridge Community Television Coverage
“Skateboard Paradise” on WCVB Channel 5
Lynch Foundation and GLP Creative Video

May 1, 2016
Scout Cambridge: Lynch Family Skatepark Builds a Community On Wheels

November 20, 2015
Cambridge Chronicle: Skatepark opens in North Point Park
TransWorld Business: Vans Joins Lynch Family Skatepark at its Opening
Charlestown Patriot-Bridge: Skatepark Opens, Haven for Those with Wheels
NewBoston Post: Shredding New Worlds at the Lynch Family Skatepark

November 14, 2015
NorthEndWaterfront.com: Skaters Rejoice at Opening of Lynch Family Skatepark
Boston Globe: Lynch Family Skatepark opens in Cambridge
WBUR, Photos: Designer Tests The Air Over New Skate Park
On CBS: Renowned Sculptor Helps Make Boston Skatepark a Reality

November 5, 2015
Press Release: Grand Opening: Lynch Family Skatepark
Boston Globe: Skateboarders do test run at Lynch Family Skatepark
On WBUR: ‘Psyched It’s Finally Here’: Long-Awaited Cambridge Skate Park To Open In November

To learn more about the skatepark or to make a press inquiry, please contact us at crc@thecharles.org.

Lead photo by Michael Silvano Photography.