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We never miss the chance to toot the old bugle about our mission.
But what do our peers in the skate industry have to say?
HECKLER MAGAZINE JUNE 2000
BY SONNY MAYUGBA
What makes one park better than another? You know the feeling when you go to a park and it rules? No pits, few cracks, all smooth with very few kinks. Why can't all parks be that way? Well, if they had this book, they would. This book and accompanying CD ROM is a super complete guide that leaves nothing about building your own concrete skatepark, no matter what size, to guesswork. From planning and who to contract, to fundraising, construction and design, this book rules. If you though a killer skatepark came from pouring some 'crete on a bump' think again. You will learn about substrate prep, maximum aggregate, slump, expansion joints, finishing concrete and curing it too. The attention to detail is amazing. Things like transition ladders, radius floats, and curved surfaces are throughly explained. There are tons of example forms that will save you weeks of work as well as example public speeches and stratagies to approaching your local government and community. This list goes on, but believe me when I say there is nothing missing from this book except the people to use it. I highly recommend this book to every skateboarding community. The author, Tony Gembeck, is a sculptor who ended up designing and building the St. Helens, Oregon 12,000+ square foot park. This resource book should be published and put in every library across the world.
TRANSWORLD SKATEBOARDING JANUARY 21, 2000
BY MIKI VUCKOVICH
"Public Skatepark Builder's Bible"
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. 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 highy 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.
TWENTYFOUR SEVEN ONLINE SKATE MAGAZINE
BY JEFF TURNER NOV-JAN 2000
When we first received this book I was very interested to see what the author knew, or thought he knew about skatepark design and construction. After a thorough examination of the book and its accompanying CD-ROM, I have come to this conclusion. This book can be an enormous help for cities and counties all over that are interested in getting a public skatepark. It starts out by providing useful tips and info about how to get the process started, from there it takes you slowly through all phases of building, designing, and maintaining a concrete skatepark. ATTENTION CONTRACTORS: With this book the chances are very good that you can create a very fun and fluid skatepark setup rather than a conglomeration of unskateable junk. The accompanying CD-ROM is packed full of digital photos of skateparks in all stages of the design process. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is involved in getting a skatepark built in their area.
BIG BROTHER MAGAZINE, MAY 2000
BY DAVE CARNIE
Back around 1994, Consolidated came out with The Plan. It was a small pamphlet designed to help skaters persuade their city to build them a skatepark. Now, Tony Gembeck has put out the high-tech version. For $65 dollars he'll send you a 130 page binder filled with everything from getting religious officials involved in supporting your project to setting the rebar and laying the concrete in the bowls. Plus, the book comes with a CD-ROM with pictures of the construction of the St. Helens park in Oregon, which Tony's team built. I haven't skated it, so I can't accurately judge Gembeck's work, but from the pictures it looks sick. Hella sick. And the book claims, albiet with a lot of hard work, that you, too, can build a cement skatepark. I don't even like building vert ramps, but based upon his instructions I think I might enjoy building a cement park. By myself! If you are trying to convince your city to build a park, or if your city is already building a park, this book is essential.
TOXBOE SKATEPARK WEBZINE 2000
BY ANDERS TOXBOE, DENMARK
Unlike other books of this topic, this describes every single thing needed to be done to attain a skatepark in the area of your town. Tony Gembeck describes the long way by telling the story of "St. Helens Skatepark" in Oregon. It includes every little detail just for you to reuse in your project. This includes receipts for donations, surveys, ads, speeches, itineraries, and much more including various concise examples: petition sheets, press releases, media contact list forms, flyers, donation jar pick-up schedule forms, etc. The list goes on forever and surprised me by its size. Although there are plenty of examples, most of the book explains the planning and work of the whole process of acquiring the skatepark in every aspect thoroughly and detailed. These sections are very useful and unmatched by any product. There is an unbelievable large amount of knowledge of so many different things, which is all needed to build the skatepark, gathered in this book. It is more than safe to say that your money is well given out for it. If you are looking for help to acquire your skatepark then Tony Gembeck has the help ready for you.
The book is divided into four chapters: Establishing an organization, campaign strategy, fundraising, and skatepark design. Each chapter is described in the following.
Establishing an organization: One of the first things you will need in order to gain the support necessary to build your skatepark. The book describes step by step what is necessary and what is not. Main topics are organization membership, group structure and rules, and community involvement. After discussing these points the book continues with examples of ads, different standard form needed, and members to government officials.
Campaign Strategy: How to get attention to your future skatepark in order to attract donations and help. Every type of marketing needed is described here - from developing a flyer to working with the media. The importance of surveys and petitions are described along with press releases and public speaking. Why this is needed is of course also explained in the book. Like the last chapter, examples are given on everything written about. This is extremely useful, since it gives you inspiration and advice into how the things are done. In many cases the persons who wants the skatepark is also inexperienced in planning and working with the government and other organizations such as the media or other companies. The examples are of a broad range like described earlier. If you can't figure out how to write your own speech, you can pick up an already completed one from the book! If you need statistics for your campaign, the book also provides you with this along with where you can find it.
Fundraising: "If the city where you live is willing to donate the land and pay to have a skatepark built without donations from the private sector, then you truly have it made. However, in most instances it is the interest and support from the private sector that will help to start and keep the ball rolling. So, fundraising is really the time to roll up your sleeves and get ready to work." p. 52. This chapter is the biggest, but also the most essential to building your skatepark. It first describes what is important to know before you start the fundraising, for instance "How much skatepark can you afford?" and what kind of organization is needed in order to make all donations to your organization tax deductible. After this, different ideas to fundraising events are described: why this particular event is important, how much money will it bring, and what is important in arranging the event. As in earlier chapters, loads of examples are given. This ranges from receipts to donators, event posters, competition score sheets letters to companies and committees.
Skatepark Design: This chapter provides a step-by step guide to specialized technology you need to know for successful skatepark construction. With the accompanying CD-ROM the contractor or serious do-it-yourselfer are shown the general principles of forming, jigging and construction of a modern skatepark. Since the technique used to form concrete skateparks is different from the technique used to create sidewalks and parking lots, these pages are important to know, or you will have troubles with your concrete cracking. The book explains all the technical terms and how they are managed, for instance drainage. After a concise explanation, the chapter continues on guidelines for the different possible obstacles you can construct in your skatepark.
The approach to constructing the different obstacles is surprisingly different, so you thank yourself for buying this book when constructing a new thing. The most described obstacle is the bowl, which also appears to the be hardest to construct. This leads to constructing other radial transitions and curved surfaces and finally to constructing freestanding obstacles. After this the basic forms of obstacles such as "A floor combining curved and straight sides", "Fun boxes and similar square or rectangular shapes", and "Spines and similar curved transitional shapes". Now a very essential thing: attaching rails and copings, and finally "Concrete repairs". The chapter is finished by explaining basic concepts such as estimating the concrete volume and drawing a radius.
The great thing about this chapter is the accompanying CD-ROM. As you read the text in the book, you can see exactly what is meant by looking at the pictures on the CD, which step-by-step shows you the construction of the various kinds of obstacles.
Skatepark Opening and Beyond: Now your skatepark is finished now what? There is still some work to be done. First off, a big grand opening celebration, and then comes liability waivers, etc. The long road has now ended!
This book will guide an individual or organization through the steps necessary to build a high-quality skatepark facility. The book contains sections that detail how to organize supporters, plan a campaign, raise funds, and design a skatepark. Most importantly, the book details how to use an interactive, collaborative approach to skatepark design, and how to find needed resources right in your own community.
I have never seen anything like this before - the book is really amazing. I have had troubles finding anything which is as comprehensive as this on building any kind of skateparks.
The bad thing about constructing a concrete skatepark is that the design is not easily changed like it is with wooden ramps and obstacles, but of course the two can be combined. To construct your concrete parts of your skatepark, or even the whole concrete skatepark, this book is the only thing you need as a resource. It is just great.
Even though you are not constructing a concrete skatepark, the book is still an extremely useful tool in acquiring your skatepark in your community. It doesn't get any better than this.
Words from the author:
"This book was written for city planning departments, parks and recreation districts, and non-profit organizations that may be considering or are currently in the process of designing or building skateparks. The book was also designed to be useful to concrete contractors or other committed individuals with now formal contractor experience who would like to build a skatepark, but lack of the specialized knowledge needed to build a high quality park."
SMIRK MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2000
BY WIL WALDON
I was home one morning at about 11 when i realized that i didn't check the mail yet. So , i put on my shoes and trudged outside in the cold winter air. I sloshed through about a foot of fresh powder to my mailbox where there lay a package from FED EX.
I was pretty stoked to get a package so i quickly ran inside andgrabbed the closest thing i could find to pry open the tape on it. I opened up the package and found a three ring binder and a CD enclosed.
I took a quick look through the contents of the binder and noticed it was a lot of reading. (over 130 pages!!) What I didn't know right away was how much I'd actually learn from spending the time reading the whole thing. It contained EVERY ASPECT of skatepark construction. From getting the people together, raising money, finding supplies for free or cheap to actually building the concrete wonderland.
After a while, about a week, I finally slapped the CD in my computer and took a look at its contents. The CD is a very useful tool with many graphic images to refer to when constructing and showing town officials what can actually be done with the right leadership.
The folder/book is actually laid out VERY well and in a precise order. It starts off with "organization". This chapter outlines ways to establish contacts within your own community, and businesses. It also provides info on how to organize meetings with town boards and within the structure of the "skatepark development team".
Within the rest of the book, you are made aware of how to raise money for the project. Plus there is a very detailed section on the CD and within the book of how to actually construct the park, what materials you will need and how to acquire them.