Anneslie resident Bill Felter is on a mission. Felter is a husband, father, Army veteran, pollution control analyst, longtime skateboarding enthusiast, and the spark that is bringing skateboarding facilities within reach for Towson’s youth and adults.
It was the summer of 2017 when I first heard from Felter, who had just approached the Towson Recreation Council with ideas for creating more local public facilities for people in our community to discover, practice and pursue skateboarding. The meeting was a success, and confirmed that there were possibilities. Like minds were rallied, and a group set to work.
Flash forward to October 2018, and the Baltimore County Skateboard Council received full approval from the Board of Recreation and Parks, making the group an official recreation partner with Baltimore County. BCSC also found a friend in Councilman David Marks, who has said he’d welcome a new, concrete skate park in the community.
Felter wants to share the message of “just how important skate parks can be in the lives of our youth. There are lots of kids out there to whom traditional team sports are not attractive, and skate parks provide a place for kids to recreate without the need for teams, coaches, and referees.”
Skating is a passion and a pastime for many adults, too. “What keeps me on a skateboard is the pure joy of rolling around and the sound your trucks make when they’re grinding on concrete,” Felter said.
In the year ahead, BCSC aims to advance its model for neighborhood “skate spots,” which re-purpose underutilized multipurpose courts by adding a few skateboarding obstacles from the existing county skate park inventory. This would increase the availability of safe, legal places for people to skateboard as they continue to develop plans for permanent concrete skate parks.
They’ve already looked at several locations in the Towson area and are confident that they will soon have a site chosen as a proof-of-concept for a neighborhood skate spot, as a predecessor to a concrete skate park.
Exactly where the new skate park is going to be is a question Felter is often asked. At the moment, BCSC is working on finding the right location and securing financing. The bulk of funding will come from state and private grants and sponsorships, as well as robust grass-roots fundraising. Numerous local partners, as well as the Tony Hawk Foundation, are helping develop strategies for these efforts. Community support weighs heavily in the success of the plans.
BCSC recently secured a $5,000 grant from the Baltimore Community Foundation, allowing it to offer three free, all-ages summer skateboarding clinics at different Baltimore County skate parks. They’ll have skateboards, pads and helmets available for children and adults. Dates and locations are not yet confirmed.
Membership in the Baltimore County Skateboard Council is open to everyone, though members are required to attend at least two council meetings per year. The next public meeting will be held on Jan. 30 at the Towson Library.
Learn more about BCSC at baltcoskateboardcouncil.org, on Facebook (www.facebook.com/groups/bcsc2020), or Instagram (@baltcoskateboardcouncil).