The indoor skate park 'Skate Factory' in Essen (Germany) faces the threat of closure - diminishing the towns youth and sport support - town council inert
It sounds more like something that could only happen in any remote area rather than something occurring in a modern day city like Essen (Germany). The indoor skate park 'Skate factory' faces closure despite being a non-subsidised, privately funded, and extremely well designed project. Apart from spine, quarters and Mini ramps the Skate Factory also has the only indoor vert ramp in the county of Nordrhein Westfalien and regularly hosts events, such as 'Hammer Jamm', which promote the town itself far beyond county and country. Many Dutch and French skaters frequently and regularly visit the Skate Factory during the winter month.
At no time in the 10 years of existence of the Skate Factory was the Essen town council obliged to fund any of the events held there, nor was it asked for subsidy towards the upkeep of the skate park, although it was extensively used by various local youth groups as well as school classes. Even the current German Vert Champion Niclas Stephan from Gelsenkirchen trained in the Skate Factory before last year gaining the title.
The background to this disastrous deal:
It was neither lack of funds nor Insolvency that threatened the existence of the Skate factory; it was a case of bad luck and a court case involving the town council of Essen vs a used car dealer/scrap heap merchant. The Town council took the used car dealer/scrap heap merchant to court, where the merchant was obliged to provide a storage space for used/scrapped cars in his possession as otherwise he would lose his licence.
As the Skate factory was temporarily available due to proprietor change, the used car dealer/scrap heap merchant made a bid for it without the current proprietors knowledge, declared that the property is no longer to be used as a skate park as from 01/01/2007.
To this Frank Romeike from the Skate Association Germany e.V.:
The value of the ramps etc. in the Skate Factory is approximately 100,000 Euros (£70,000), and as these were designed and built especially for the layout of the hall, with special steel supports, relocation of the Skate Factory skate park would not be a financially viable option. The current proprietor is more than willing and financially in the position of maintaining the Skate factory as it is now. I just find it hard to believe that it is in the interest of the town council Essen to destroy so senselessly a place which is well established socially and culturally, whilst at the same time bidding for the title "Culture Capital City of Europe"... For the by the closure of the Skate Park affected youth and sports people this would be a disaster as well as a great loss for the town of Essen.
In view of the skating sport addressing young people who often are not attracted by the more classic sports, as well as it's role in the prevention of crime and drug use, I demand politicians, council members and citizens of Essen to support the sustenance of the Skate Factory skate park. Perhaps the Essen town council could offer an alternative storage facility for the used car dealer/scrap heap merchant, or provide aid in his endeavour to find such.
Please support us in trying to keep the Skate Factory!