Franklin’s Paine Updates & other Philadelphia skateboarding drama

This past week was not a good one for Philadelphia skateboarding. I haven’t been doing a good job in updating this site a smuch as I should. I don’t want to be regurgitating news I read all over facebook but it was pointed out the not everyone uses or is even on Facebook. I also have steered away from writing about anything that I consider “skateboard politics” because it bums me out. I’ve been asked by numerous people why I haven’t posted about the things below so I compiled what I’ve had in draft posts for a few months.

This post is a compilation of a bunch of things that have been happening over the past few months with Franklin’s Paine, Paine’s Park & the state of skateboarding in Philadelphia.

Title 10 amendment

On Tuesday a meeting was held to amend Title 10 to make skateboarding even more illegal. Franklin’s Paine posted about it last week & also attended the meeting to voice their concerns. The amendment was approved.

The local Metro wrote about it on Thursday.

Steve Miller of Exit posted the following over on Facebook shortly after the Metro article was online:

Fact: If you commit institutional vandalism while NOT operating a skateboard in Philadelphia you face a maximum fine of $300. If you commit institutional vandalism WHILE operating a skateboard you now face a maximum fine of $2,000 and 30 days in jail… A new legislation supported by none other then…. YOU GUESSED IT Franklin’s Paine Skatepark Fund and it’s co-founder skateboarder Josh Nims. Keep up the great work guys!

I reached out to Josh for more on what went down & he told me that he was “a little bummed on news coverage in metro”

The issue is the $2000 fine which I came out to city hall to voice opposition to. The legislations intent is to protect veterans memorials and other public monuments, etc for vandalism and damage, which I do agree with. But charging skaters 2k fines is a bad approach

He also added the following regarding Tuesday’s meeting which seems to be why the Metro’s quotes seemed to paint Franklin’s Paine as supporting the bill:

…discussion with the administration officials and that ended up being the thing that they were questioning in terms of whether they could support the 2k$ fine. In other words, the enforcement issue was my only opportunity to keep the 2k part of the bill from going to full council. That issue was further debated after my testimony.

If anyone else from skateboarding community had showed up or attempted to voice their opinion via a phone call or email to the members of this committee, perhaps they would have more facts about the situation or could understand how the discussion formed and where the opportunities were to turn the tide away from the big focused on skateboarders.

If I had not gone, no one would have been there to say anything to the contrary of any part of the bill.

Josh Nims on’s One Great Idea

Josh Nims was also recently featured on for their One Great Idea segment discussing Paine’s Park which is said to be breaking ground this Fall. It had previously been scheduled to break ground in the spring.

When I reached out to Franklin’s Paine about the push back of the ground-breaking back in June I was told by Claire that:

“we are still progressing daily through our pre-construction process, but this phase has taken longer than expected due in part to added time required by the design team and additional municipal approvals needed.  We will be heading back to the Art Commission in mid-July for final approvals and hope to be teed up for an early fall ground breaking, likely finishing construction on the project in spring 2013.”

Sponsor bricks, benches & plaques for Paine’s Park

You can sponsor bricks, benches & plaques for Paine’s park. A 5 year sponsorship of a granite bench from Dilworth Plaza or LOVE Park would cost $10,000, a steel bench would cost $5,000, a plaque would be $1000, & a brick would cost $225. You can find the form for this if you are interested here. Maybe I should start a kickstarter to get a a brick. I can’t really stand kickstarter projects though and doubt I’d be able to raise the money.

Granite from City Hall that was to be used for Paine’s Park

In regards to the granite from City Hall that was stored down at FDR, it is now being used by the FDR guys to build more of the park down there, a lot of which is being used for fill. Onefinger posted the following photo on Facebook:

Claire had told me back in June regarding the granite at FDR that:

The granite that’s currently at FDR is intended for use at Paine’s Park and is definitely not meant to be up for grabs.  We weren’t able to pay for storage for these months between obtaining the granite and beginning construction and worked out a deal with Parks and Rec that we could store the granite temporarily at FDR during our pre-construction process.

I’m not sure how they ever thought that would go untouched. I even here that someone lost a finger moving the blocks. I thought it was pretty common knowledge that Street skateboarders & FDR skateboarders are a different bread & that putting any building material down at FDR would get used for FDR skatepark. There are 2 blocks set up as a ledge down there in the parking lot that I saw last weekend when I was there. I didn’t go over to the side to see how much of the granite is currently left.

Franklin’s Paine & La Colombe Collab

Franklin’s Paine & La Colombe recently teamed up for a fundraiser and made limited edition La Colombe “fresh roasted skateboards” with Formation Skateboards.

You can read an interview with Josh and Claire about it here. The had a release event & fundraiser recently to show off the new boards at their location across from the recently “destroyed” iconic City Hall aka Dilworth Plaza.

Sunoco tearing up FDR rumors going around again.

Rumors are once again going around that FDR is going to be demolished like back when this happened in 2006.

This is the PDF that people are citing as proof.

Someone wrote in response to the PDF on Facebook “all this says is that the pipeline will transport refined products from the Midwest to eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania. Eastern PA isn’t mentioned as part of the approved project.”

When I asked Franklin’s Paine about this they said they hadn’t heard anything about it but they would reach out to parks and rec to see what tehy knew about it. As of right now they have not gotten any word from them about it.

Given the wording on the PDF, I started to think that it was just a rumor but someone down at FDR told me last weekend that not too long ago some suits were down at the park with plans & had asked one of the locals what they were going to do when they tear it down. I don’t know how much truth there is to this story. If anyone knows any more about this, please let us know in the comments.

In other news…

Lil’Wayne got a skatepark opened in New Orleans.

18 thoughts on “Franklin’s Paine Updates & other Philadelphia skateboarding drama

  1. The people on the board of directors at franklins paine have been collecting large paychecks for way too long for doing next to nothing, and I dont think anyone can disagree with me. Non profits have minimal oversight, and commonly only exist to provide a very undeserved paycheck to its members. If I remember correctly, this clare person and a couple other are getting somewher around $70,000 a year, and for what exactly? Do they have work to do on a daily basis? Is it hard work? I worked at a grocery store from 10pm to 6am stocking shelves and maybe made $20,000 a year. Most people have to work hard, 5 days a week, for much less than what these people are making for doing nothing. Not only are they ripping people off and catering to their own interests(or what they wrongly perceive as others’ interests) they are having a negative impact on the skateboarders here that appreciate skating the city and not some dusty angle iron grindbox under a bridge. I looked into it a little, and the first thing I am going to do is file a complaint with the attorney general. I encourage other people that feel similarly to do the same, if the AG receives enough complaints, the feds take over any investigation.

  2. Zeb – You’re just a bit off here, buddy. First of all, no one on the Board of Franklin’s Paine has ever received a cent in payment for serving on the Board. All of this can be corroborated online via (in fact, nonprofits have more oversight than any other sector, as all year-end tax forms are publicized). And $70K a year! Man, I wish, that sounds great. Sign me up! If you don’t understand the tireless work that I and others have put into our work in communities all around Philadelphia – and exactly how much work goes into developing successful youth programs and capital projects – I hereby invite you to shadow me for a day so you can see exactly how hard this work is. Also, there’s an “i” in Claire.

  3. Glad something is moving forward but it better be the best park ever because it’s definitely one of the most expensive. I think a lot of people are still wary from waiting 10 years for a park design that isn’t even guaranteed to not suck. Are any reputable builders still using 10 year old plans on their plazas? No. They’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t. We get a park that costs more than twice as much as other large city parks with half the area designed by a guy with zero skate experience and an unimpressive ‘real world’ resume. Those waist-high kinked rails look awesome! Yay! Brick ramps that are totally fun to skate for 5 minutes! Are the builders gonna put expansion joints at the tops of stairs? $4 million (down from $6mil) for a bunch of (recycled) benches and 3-stairs? What a deal!

    Zeb’s probably right about some of the funny business too. 33% of money raised paid out in salaries? Not to mention a $2000 here and there for “office supplies”, a $10,000 for advertising, etc. etc. year after year? Nice work if you can get it.

  4. Zeb – Line 12 – Salaries. So now that you have indisputable facts, tell me why you think Board members or anyone else received such lavish funds? As to the cost, anyone in Philly that has any knowledge of typical constructions costs, union stranglehold, and political bullshit can explain why it costs what it does, and why its taken soo long. Honestly, Your not involved, you dont care, and your misinformed. If you all also remember, the design was done by us (skaters) during numerous town-hall type design get togethers. The kinked rails are a federal handicap requirement, there are efforts to have that changed during build. As for all the rest of the bitching, f off. Ground breaking is friday bitches.

  5. Psyched to see that Paine’s Park is finally happening. It’s been a long 10 years, but I guess that’s what it takes to build a legitimate, legally approved park in a city that loathes skateboarding.

    My only concern is with it being a “shared” public plaza. Alot of the PR emphasizes that point saying that it can be utilized for events such as concerts and fairs.

    My guess is that you won’t be able to skate there during such events. And after 10 years you can bet that people will be pretty pissed if they show up to skate on their day off only to find that the Horticultural Society is holding their annual fair.

    So what’s to keep the same fundamental problems from prevailing? What’s to keep the city from saying that they are holding a week long event there? Or to make it a designated area for Occupy protesters? Is it possible that they can even outlaw skating there? Or limit it to certain hours?

    Any insight from FP is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  6. Hey Money Man. Can you fucking read a tax form? Did you turn to page 2, part IV COMPENSATION? That looks like real $ to me. Also, a lot of people went to meetings and got brushed aside if they weren’t down for Love 2.0 and there was an insistance on a ‘filmable’ park for the benefit of the 10 or so people in the city who make money skating (who get flown to spots anyway). Skaters who wanted any transition were shoved under a fucking bridge. Skaters that just wanted a place to skate and practice got a 10 year wait. And you blame unions for the high price but NYC, LA, Chicago, Denver are all union towns that still got twice as much park for half as much money – for all types of skaters. The design and high dollar materials are why this park offers so little bang for buck. The dual use idea is dumb too. Why should I care about handicap access at my skatepark if it makes the rails nearly unskateable? How stoked are civilians going to be sitting on waxy benches?

    Don’t give us that “you didn’t help” crap. You took on a civic job and didn’t do it to a lot of people’s satisfaction. I’ll bitch if I want. If you have complaints about police brutality or potholes do you need to join the force or work for the streets dept.?

    Claire with an “i”, I see what you did there deflecting criticisms of large payments with “no one on the Board of Franklin’s Paine has ever received a cent in pay­ment for SERVING ON THE BOARD”. Which is to say you made plenty of money ($86585 over 3 years) by serving in a non-board position. There are also a lot of non-specific expenditures which might not sit well with hundreds of skaters that have chipped in their free time and hard earned money for FPSP in various forms and events.

  7. Yes I can thanks for asking, lets go to the tape, shall we.

    “If I remem­ber cor­rectly, this clare per­son and a cou­ple other are get­ting some­wher around $70,000 a year, and for what exactly?”…

    It may be money, but its not $70k, and its not paid to Board Members, which are listed on page 2 as well with $0 next to their name.

    As for other cities – 1. Move there, 2. Chicago’s parks suck. LA’s were bankrolled by Dydrek, and some shady bid-rigging, NYC is fucking NYC, with boatloads of money, and civic-minded people everywhere that give a shit about their city, youth etc. Thats not here.

    Try again. Thanks for playing.

  8. So, any space operated by the Parks and Recreation Department (which includes all Rec Centers and Fairmount Park), can be utilized for private events if someone goes through the permitting process for their event. We see this happen all the time with concerts and walks along the Drives as well as family reunions, and other events held in portions of Fairmount Park. If someone has a Parks and Rec approved permit for an activity at a site on a given day, they have priority of the space. Otherwise, they can’t regulate what anyone does or doesn’t do in a given space unless a law is being broken. Note that both the current and proposed anti-skateboarding legislation specifically mentions that “…Public property also shall not include Recreation Department facilities…” so this space would not be subject to those general laws. Additionally, while we all hope that the park will accommodate a mix of uses at once (as Love used to do so beautifully) the park is denoted as a “skatepark” in all agreements issued between Parks and Rec and Franklin’s Paine.

    Also, all Fairmount Park facilities are technically closed from 1am – 6am, although it’s harder to enforce in open areas. Other than that, there are no restrictions in terms of hours.

    Side note: We spent the last 8 months updating the old drawings to reflect cost saving opportunities as well as fine tuning all skate details. Grindline Skateparks led this effort on our design team throughout the process and we also have had more recent weigh in from some local pros on the final design details. I don’t think anyone will be disappointed with the quality of the park or the skateability.

  9. Also, yes, I am the only full-time staff and I get paid to serve as staff – pretty typical. I don’t understand why that seems so scandalous or hard to understand? And, I still don’t know what large payments you are referring to. I can speak to any FPSF payment made over the last 3 years, however, if you’re really that interested. Email me at or call me at 215-222-4300 and we can discuss, anonymous “hater”.

  10. This is awesome. Thanks everyone who made it happen. Can’t wait. As far as the mixed use, that was a vision I had a lot to do with when this started. It seemed to make sense as the spaces we LOVED so much were mixed. I guess we will see how it turns out.

  11. Naturally, all skateparks over 2 million dollars should include a perfect Team Pain constructed skatelite surfaced vert ramp along with a flawlessly poured clover bowl featuring tile, vertical, federal stone coping, hips and pockets. Skateparks over 4 million should also include street style elements. Cleveland is getting a park (there is not going to be a vert ramp…) with everything listed above for under 1 million.

    Its very good to see the groundbreaking. But as I have said for at least 8 years, the idea that a bowl or a ramp is too “skate specific” is crazy. My fear is that the city will reclaim the “park” for general public use and, as anyone can sit on a bench, turn it into a non-skate plaza with very little trouble. Between 4 – 6 million and the only transition is a brick quarterpipe? Not against Plazas per say, really, but it seems suspicious and costly. And, once its done, good luck skating anywhere else in town.

  12. I think Claire explained how the agreement btw the city/parks and rec define the space as a skatepark. Hard to eliminate skating at a skatepark.

    The same “cost” drama has been going on for years. Its not going to change, esp due to posts on the interweb. This is what it costs, fucking get over it. There are zoning laws, and art people to make happy, and union rules, and surveys, and studies, and water management requirements, and so on and so on. As I stated, its not really appropriate from an arguments perspective to compare this to other parks, or cities. This is philadelphia, everything we do is retarded. Want it changed, run for office.

    And the park in Cleveland is crete, which would not fly given the location etc. Material costs for granite are obviously different.

    As for bowls, go to FDR and grow a set.

  13. I just two more nickels, no three! 1. Goto FDR, pussy 2. This is a web forum, don’t complain, and 3. The price is what it is.

    I think youre all getting jacked. I think that scumbag city council will take that park away as soon as someone tags it or gets a possession ticket.

    I like having lots of terrain. All over, and I have never said youre design wasnt good or that one curb should be removed. Goofy, it is, for a skater to argue against terrain. Its incomplete and they could easily steal it back.

  14. FWIW, those two small granite ledges getting skated at FDR are not holding up great. The edges are too sharp and fragile and should probably get beveled or rounded if you want to use any of that stuff at the river park. Now back to regularly scheduled drama…

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