The Big Air School skate competition was held recently in Jack Shanahan Reserve

In 2013 Marrickville Council plans to spend a whopping $500,000 to upgrade Jack Shanahan Reserve (aka Dulwich Hill Skate Park) in time for the new Light Rail Station that will be built next door.

With the upgrade Council plans to redo the pathways, erect new fencing, resurface the tennis courts, upgrade the toilets, add landscaping & plant more trees.   They are considering whether to add ‘aerosol art practice walls.’

Half of the basketball court has recently been removed & replaced with grass as the surface was sinking in areas making it a poor & dangerous surface to play on.

We went to visit the park recently & found ourselves in amongst a hub of activity with the Big Air School competition happening. Kids were flying around the skate park on BMX bikes & skateboards. Scooters too I think.  Quite a large crowd of all ages was watching the competitors who were doing amazing things on bikes.  Flying backwards whist doing a somersault was almost commonplace.   It was exciting to watch & lovely to see this kind of activity with loads of people in the park.

It will be great to see some serious money be spent on Jack Shanahan Reserve.  It’s situated in a triangle space between railway lines, but tucked away so you can get away from the traffic.  If Council plants trees to hide the housing on the eastern side of the park, it will feel even more natural & secluded.  We go here often & there are always people around so seclusion in this case does not mean danger.

Interesting that even though there were loads of people & this is a kids-dominated park, there was no litter to be seen, nor any vandalism.  I personally don’t count graffiti in a skate park as vandalism as I think it comes with the skate culture.

I heard Clr Olive mention recently in a Council Meeting that the community had asked him to ask Council to stop removing the graffiti here as it was affecting the concrete surface making it rough & not good for skating.  I think the community is correct in this case. I think the aerosol art practice walls should be installed as well.

I would like to see the rusted VW car removed, as it is a serious tetanus risk.  It may have been groovy once, but no longer.  It is packed full of concrete & must weigh a tonne so will be hard to remove.  It would be good if Council added some seating up at the skatepark. It’s hard for grandparents who come to watch their grandchildren to have no option other than to stand up or sit on the ground.

Its great to have a park that is used for sports, but at the same time, doesn’t keep people restricted to the perimeter of the park.  The skate area is very well done. The kids’ love it & they also love an audience no matter how old you are.

It is not a park that it particularly friendly to wildlife, but this could be easily changed.  The fences could be planted with native vines to block out the visibility of the trains & to offer refuge for small birds. There are a number of ‘dead spaces’ that could be made into areas of habitat & there are a number of places suitable for raingardens.

Creating habitat for wildlife should be a priority as Jack Shanahan Reserve is directly next to The Greenway.  Increasing landscaping would not remove the community’s ability to use the park & would be a great way to educate young people about the environment.  With more trees & landscaping, Jack Shanahan Reserve will only improve & this is a bonus for the community.

Council’s website ‘Have Your Say’ is asking for input into what are your priorities & what you think about graffiti in Jack Shanahan Park.  There is a survey too with a great question – “If you were the Mayor of Marrickville Council, what would you do to improve Jack Shanahan Park?”  Here’s your chance without all the meetings & responsibility.

You can watch a short video of Jack Shanahan Reserve here –

The beginners section of the Skate Park. It’s an excellent place for young people to have fun.

The Greenway is on the left behind the fence.  There is plenty of opportunity to create multi-level habitat to create more opportunities for biodiversity here & in other areas of the Reserve.

Part of the old VW in Jack Shanahan Reserve