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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


From Encyclopedia Dubuque
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SKATE PARK. Around 1993 private developers in Dubuque suggested their interest in constructing a skateboarding park. City officials then felt they would direct their funding to an in-line skating area the size of two tennis courts at McAleece Park. A focus would be on roller hockey. Private developers did not proceed with their plans, so neither skate park was created. (1)

New state laws giving cities incentives to construct skate parks with protections from lawsuits if people were injured were passed in 1998. The interest shown for in-line skating, however, had dropped. (2)

Dubuque constructed one of Iowa's first municipal skate parks in 1999. In 2015 the city had above-ground ramps on CHAPLAIN SCHMITT ISLAND and at COMISKEY PARK. Modern parks are continuous concrete pours recessed in the ground that lead participants from one feature to another without needing to stop. Many of those interested in a modern skate park belonged to Kids in Dubuque Skate. (3)

Funding for a new skate park included $400,000 for one at Usha Park in Kennedy Road and Pennsylvania. The original funding was made in October 2006 and scheduled to be available in 2010. This was later moved to 2012 and then eliminated. In 2006, $183,500 was allocated for a small skate park and two tennis courts at Veterans Memorial Park. These funds were also later eliminated from the budget. (4) Kids in Dubuque Skate, an advocacy group, continued their ten year push for more skate parks.

In August 2015, the Dubuque City Council awarded a $16,295 contract to Pillar Design Studios, of Chicago, to help design, find a location, and raise funds for a larger skate park that includes street and park-style elements, obstacles and terrain. The goal was to appeal to beginning and well as experienced skaters as well as BMX bikers and those on scooters. (5)

The city of Dubuque committed $600,000 to the skate park project if skate park users raised $200,000 in grants and private donations toward the final cost of $800,000. (6)

Conceptual designs for the proposed park were discussed on December 15, 2015 with more than forty Dubuque-area skaters of all ages. A recommended design and location was expected to be ready to present to the public in two months. (7)

In March 2016 FLORA PARK was emerging as the likely site for the park. Other places considered were Usha Park and within the Lower Bee Branch restoration project near 15th and Pine STREETS. (8)

Flora Park by September, 2016 had emerged as the planned location with two locations possible. Of the $200,000 needed to be raised, an estimated $18,000 had been received with a nonprofit organization established through the COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF GREATER DUBUQUE. (9)

In November, 2017 city council members voted to hire Pillar Design Studios and IIW, P.C. to develop detailed plans for a 20,000-square-foot, outdoor, all-concrete skate park at Flora Park. While the city committed $600,000 to the project, park uses were challenged to raise an additional $200,000. According to Jennifer Tigges, City Parks and Recreation chairwoman and member of Kids In Dubuque Skate (K.I.D.S.), more than $41,000 had been raised. Nearly the size of three high school basketball courts, the park fit into the city's new Imagine Dubuque Comprehensive Plan which called for more recreational activities for teens and families. (10)

A $122,400 grant from the Parks to People Initiative, a state-funded effort to enhance recreational offerings, was announced in February, 2018 if K.I.D.S. raised the remaining money for construction to begin by summer. The grant raised the group's fundraising progress to $151,800. (11)

Groundbreaking for the state park took place on July 16, 2018 at Flora Park. KIDS raised an estimated $256,000 which secured a loan of $600,000 from the city to build the new park. The new park would have a 16,000 square foot skating surface, security lights and cameras. The park was planned for skateboarding, rollerblading and riding scooters and bikes. (12)

In December, 2018 work was halted for the season. Work completed included most of the bowls, pipes, ramps, boxes and other obstacles. Some concrete and deck work remained. The park was expected to be open to the public in the spring of 2019. (13)

The skate park opened on July 15, 2019. The facility would be open from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m. daily. (14)



1. Wilkinson, Jennifer. "Dubuque to Consider Dual-Purpose Park for Skaters," Telegraph Herald, May 13, 1998, p. 3A. Online: https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=aEyKTaVlRPYC&dat=19980513&printsec=frontpage&hl=en

2. Ibid.

3. Barton, Thomas J. "Skate Park Proposal on a Roll," Telegraph Herald, November 10, 2015, p. 1

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. Ibid.

7. Barton, Thomas J. "Skate Park Design Has 'More Flow,'" Telegraph Herald, December 16, 2015, p. 1A

8. Barton, Thomas J. "Skate Park Momentum Rolls Toward Flora," Telegraph Herald, March 18, 2016, p. 1A.

9. Barton, Thomas J. "Skateboard Enthusiasts Pitch Plans," Telegraph Herald, September 1, 2016, p 1A

10. Barton, Thomas A. "City Hires Design Firm for Skate Park," Telegraph Herald, November 26, 2017, p. 21A

11. Barton, Thomas A. "Backers of Skate Park Land $122,400 Grant," Telegraph Herald, February 1, 2018, p. 5A

12. Yager, Alicia, "Dubuque Ramps Up Skate Park Work," Telegraph Herald, July 17, 2018, p. 3A

13. It's Beginning to look a Lot Like a Skate Park," Telegraph Herald, December 19, 2018, p. 3A

14. Goldstein, Bennet, "Skate Park Ready to Roll," Telegraph Herald, July 16, 2019, p. 1