Flipping for success: Dripping Springs neighbors push for skateboard park

Dripping Springs resident Dennis Baldwin remembers how a neighbor 30 years ago kick-started his love of skateboarding.

At the time, the neighbor, who lived two doors down from his Irving residence, had just received a skateboard and built a half-pipe to go with it. He was hooked ever since.

“I love the fact that you can get on a board, get on a driveway and be in a whole other world,” Baldwin said.

Thirty years later, Baldwin, along with many others, began a grassroots movement to fundraise a skateboard park in Founders Park in order to make the sport accessible to Dripping Springs residents.

The movement for a skate park began three years ago when Baldwin offered skateboarding camps through Dripping Springs ISD’s Community Education program.

It was there he met the parents of campers who sought a permanent place for not only their kids to skateboard, but themselves also.

The closest public skate parks to Dripping Springs are in Lakeway, Buda and Austin.

Soon, the group began reaching out to city officials, primarily the Dripping Springs Parks and Recreation Department, about the skateboard park. They soon discovered a skate park was on the city’s Parks Master Plan, but was number 22 on the priority list.

The group took to a November 2014 Parks and Recreation meeting where 80 people expressed their support of the park. As a result of that meeting, the skateboard park was moved up to the number 5 spot on the plan.

“From that, it showed the Parks and Recreation Commission there was definitely an interest here,” Baldwin said.

Ever since then, the movement for a skate park continued to gain momentum. In 2015, the Dripping Springs City Council created a six person skateboard park committee to come up with a potential location of a skate park, along with raising awareness about the benefits of the sport.

Baldwin said the group generated interest, as well as talked to people in the community. They also gained a “groundswell” of people to follow them.

As a result of the committee’s work, the Dripping Springs City Council identified Founders Park as a possible location. The group began to work on what they’d like to see in a possible skateboard park.

Baldwin said a park similar to Buda’s, which is approximately 10,000 square feet, is a target size. Crafting a “plaza style park,” which could feature an urban environment with ledges, planters and stairs is a focus for younger skaters.

The addition of large skating bowls could be implemented as well.

“A bowl is something we’re thinking about. We know there are older skaters where tricks can be rough on their knees, so they want to cruise around in a bowl,” Baldwin said.

Much of the details of a possible skateboard park could be spelled out in a donation agreement between the city and the skateboard park commission, said Michelle Fischer, Dripping Springs city administrator.

Fischer said the agreement, which wasn’t been approved, could identify how many acres of land is needed for the park, as well as how the park could potentially be funded.

Baldwin said the Dripping Springs Skate Park Initiative, a group of individuals who advocate for the park, are focused on raising funds to assist in building of the park, in order to alleivaite the burden from the city. He said the DSSPI pitched the fundraising idea to city leaders in April, with the group aiming for a $400,000 skateboard park.

The group is also eyeing the opportunity to apply for grants from the Texas Parks and Wildlife to assist with the cost.

Fischer said the city is also open to assisting with the grant application process, and is talking with other stakeholders, including the Pound House and the Dripping Springs Youth Soccer Association.

“It provides a need we don’t have in the area,” Fischer said. “It could bring visitors to (Founder’s Park).”

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