Monday, May 19, 2008

Suggested Skatepark Sites: Binghamton Park

Skatelife Memphis' efforts to build a public skatepark here have recently cleared another hurdle when the City Council approved funds for a skatepark in committee. The City Council must still approve the full budget.

Here are some photos I took of a suggested location, Binghamton Park.

It has a playground for small kids while their older siblings skate.

Binghamton Park

It has several clear rectangular areas bordered with trees that can provide shade, without creating obstacles for construction or too much overhead debris for skaters.

Here are 2 rectangles, the smaller next to the large tree, a larger defined by the trees in the middle.

Binghamton Park

Here's a much larger rectangle that leaves room for the soccer fields (which appear to be used quite a bit).

Binghamton Park
Other points:
  • 4 blocks to Sam Cooper Boulevard, 2 blocks to Poplar. I think you could get to it in 30 minutes from anywhere in the county.
  • It has on street parking going both ways on at least 3 sides of the park.
  • It's in a diverse neighborhood.
  • It felt safe when I was there. There were 4 or 5 families using the playground.
With or without a skatepark, Binghamton Park is a really nice Memphis park.

Labels: , , , ,


Anonymous sherman said...

Gotta say, not one of your better efforts. This location is nowhere near as good as 1) s. mudd island 2) fairgrounds 3) overton park. In that order.

I wouldn't feel safe skating at this location. It's not even a neighborhood in transition. A neighborhood looking for a transition (perhaps) but no effort that I have seen.

Nor is it easy to find.

Perfectly honest, the mudd island location would be world class. The fairgrounds could be cool but a big step down. This locale does not excite me in any way, shape, or form.

1:19 AM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Mud Island would look cool and be more of a tourist attraction, but it would not be as convenient for local skaters. Something in Midtown would be best - a place to which some folks could actually ride their skateboards.

Ideally, there would be one main skate park that could be a "destination," or a spot that people would come to from all over, like Mud Island. An awesome park with a great view would attract skaters and their families from all over. For local skaters, it would be great to have several smaller skate parks at more convenient locations.

8:13 AM  
Blogger John Carroll said...

I really like the idea. That park is great. I was there yesterday after I stopped by another local favorite...Ugly Mug Coffee, they roast right across the street from there.

This location would be very beneficial to all involved. I have seen groups of skaters in the parking lot across the street a few times.

9:15 AM  
Blogger Harvey said...


I think you make some good points. However, I wonder if a skate park at Binghamton Park couldn't help the surrounding neighborhood become a neighborhood in transition. I think it could and while I am not a skater, from what I have seen, skaters have a unifying effect.

What I mean is, they seem to be so focused on their passion of skating, that they care little about the normal factors that separate Memphians (race, religion, social class). I can't imagine a better demographic to help a neighborhood start a transition.

9:58 AM  
Blogger jccvi said...

There are some transitioning points in that neighborhood, not least of which a very nice infill house built just around the corner to go with several others in the neighborhood.

That said, it is such a nice quiet park and the green areas seem to get a lot of use for soccer. I still like the south end of Williamson Park best, as it is lightly traveled, has parking, and is mostly insulated from residential areas.

Binghamton Park is as pretty a neighborhood park as you can find in Memphis.

11:57 AM  
Anonymous sherman said...

Ok, Gates! Let me 1st say I didn't mean to be so harsh. You do a great blog & service to Memphis (My ex-wife says I need to get on here and apologize because I was too strong). Love me the Gates of Memphis blog!

But! I'm assuming Memphis' very progressive parks department is NOT going to drop 15 neighborhood skateparks in Memphis in the next 30 years. I'd be very happy with one great one, and that's about what I expect given the way this city is currently run. With that in mind, I stand by my previous post.

Now, if, all of a sudden, Memphis becomes the new Portland and the parks dept. decides to throw a skateboard park in every neighborhood, then, yes, this is a very good location that will be 1) more convenient to residents of that neighborhood 2) help that neighborhood grow into a transitional phase (however, unless the city enforces code or bulldozes the 40 or so boarded up buildings in the adjacent blocks, I would recommend not building up the park in that neighborhood) 3) beneficial to the neighborhood--as would a tennis court, pond, basketball court, swimming pool etc (I'm all for more park amenities, but this administration has a difficult time cutting the grass on the Parkways so I have very low expectations for their operations).

My point is we are dealing with (very) limited resources to build a skate park and why not shoot for a world class site--rather than for one that is a cozy, hard to find neighborhood site and would not become the worldwide mecca for skating that skating on the Mississippi would be?

If Memphis builds a whole bunch of 'em, why not use that park, but I don't expect that to happen.

2:18 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

3:16 PM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

I agree with almost everything said here, including Sherman and Elaine's point -- that we need a great skatepark and that Mud Island is the location for that. This suggestion (and it's only a suggestion, not a recommendation) is in light of Skatelife Memphis' near-term focus on a smaller park, given the Riverfront Development Corp's decision to spend the next year master planning Mud Island. (the RDC unfortunately did not answer Sherman's great and creative challenge, another missed connection by the riverfront group).

John and jccvi, you've reinforced the really good feeling I've had about that park, whether it is ever anything more than it today.

Harvey, that passion was a wonder to behold at the Fairgrounds.

btw, I deleted Aaron's 2 comments at his request. Nothing controversial -- it's all been written about on either the Skatelife blog or project website.

Aaron plans to repost the summary on the website, where it will have better presentation than that allowed by blogger comment html.

11:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dumb question, but why could we not have a skatepark on Mud Island run by the RDC and one at the Fairgrounds run by the Parks Services? Since they are two separate entities and RDC seems to have their own funding mechanisms.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

You'll find your answer at


12:50 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Binghampton is a GREAT location for a skatepark. Not only is it one of the most racially and socio-economically diverse neighborhoods in the city, but its also where all the artists and teachers I know are moving because Cooper-Young is too damn expensive. A skatepark is very welcome here.

8:49 AM  
Blogger gatesofmemphis said...

Mike, that's good to hear about Binghamton. I need to walk around there soon. Thanks.

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah,Binghamton is a really bad part of Memphis.I know a couple people that live around there and it's not really the greatest place for a skatepark.Moms wouldn't let there kid skate in the ghetto.

3:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say I would not feel safe skating anywhere in the Memphis area, but I believe the best place to have a park would be around the Cordova area. Its alot safer. However, and indoor park that you pay a few bucks to get it would be the best and safest, not to mention extra money for the city. If an outdoor park was to be created and I would skate at it, it would need to have a bunch of lights and security and possibly a gate to keep bikes out.

12:06 PM  
Blogger John Geiger said...

I have to disagree with sherman.... dont know how long ago this was posted but binghamton IS a neighborhood in transition. I moved here a year ago because of the transition. Mixed income, mixed races, mixed ages. I can walk through this park and neighborhood at ant time day or night and feel safe.... do some research.

12:14 PM  

<< Home