Public Skatepark-Builders’ Bible

New skatepark planning and construction guide details every step.

If you’ve been looking for detailed help on transforming an idea for a public skatepark into a finished, skateable product, a new skatepark-builders’ guide might be just the blueprint you’re looking for. Written by sculptor and skatepark designer Tony Gembeck of the a. Gembeck Studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota, The Complete Step-By-Step Guide To Concrete Skatepark Construction is an articulate 150-page volume containing detailed instructions on how to organize community members, plan a PR campaign, fund-raise, design, and construct a skatepark. It also includes sample forms and a CD ROM containing photographs of the tools and techniques described in the text.

A sculptor by trade, in 1998 Gembeck volunteered to design a public skatepark in St. Helens, Oregon. Once the design was completed, he stayed on to help the park project win approval from the city government. When the city was unable to find a suitable contractor for the 12,000-square-foot facility, Gembeck was asked if he could also build the park.

His crew approached the park as they would a huge outdoor sculpture: dividing it into several pieces, or phases, and built it section by section. After studying many of the standard techniques used in concrete construction, Gembeck developed many new procedures for creating elements specific to skateparks. As a result of his start-to-finish participation in the St. Helens Skatepark project, Gembeck has become an expert in all phases of skatepark development and construction. The processes and techniques he uses are detailed in his book.

Gembeck’s philosophy embraces a collaborative, community approach to skatepark building, from planning through design. He believes that all the elements and ideas needed to design a great skatepark exist in every community of skaters, and that his plan can help organize and bring these ideas together. The construction section of the book then describes some of the difficulties specific to skatepark building, and Gembeck’s highly specialized system for the placement of poured concrete.

The Complete Guide To Concrete Skatepark Construction was written for city planning departments, parks and recreation districts, and nonprofit organizations involved in skatepark projects. It’s also useful for contractors unfamiliar with the peculiarities of skatepark design, and individuals who wish to build a park but have no formal contractor experience. The book and CD ROM are available directly from a. Gembeck Studio for 65 dollars. Registered owners of the book are eligible for free periodic updates.

Gembeck also offers seminars to skatepark groups, city officials, and contractors, as well as consulting, design, and construction services. Contact a. Gembeck Studio: P.O. Box 13149, Minneapolis, MN 55414; (612) 706-6127 ph;