For skaters fantasizing about catching air in downtown parking garages or leisurely skating down the Riverwalk, these locations are not dream settings. As outlined in the Wilmington City Code, skating is prohibited downtown.
“It’s not that the city hates skateboarders,” said Assistant City Attorney Bill Wolak. The the prohibition of skateboarders “is for safety reasons, both for skaters and for pedestrians,” Wolak said.
To break it down, the ordinance states that skateboarding is not allowed “upon any public street, public sidewalk, public park or public vehicular area located in the central business district or upon the Riverwalk.” Lynn Coleman, Assistant City Attorney, said this includes a favorite skater spot, the steps and fountain area by the New Hanover County Public Library, 201 Chestnut St., Wilmington [Map this].
Skating outside of the central business district is also tricky. Coleman explained that the CBD is no longer a concise rectangle and does not have simple, precise coordinates. The zoning code defines the CBD as roughly everything from the water’s edge to Third Street. She said this also extends further to include areas like the arts district beyond Fourth Street. Stretching parallel to the Cape Fear River, the CBD extends beyond the Wilmington Convention Center and south to Orange Street.
However, studying a zoning map will not help skaters in their pursuit of skatable ground. The ordinance states that skateboarders may not skate on any public street outside of the CBD except to cross the street, but they may skate on sidewalks that are outside of the CBD, if they do so with care. Meaning, skaters must yield the right-of-way to other pedestrians and cannot skate recklessly.
So, where can a skateboarder safely and legally skate?
Check out: Greenfield Grind Skatepark at Greenfield Park, U.S. 421 South at Burnett Boulevard, Wilmington [Map this], or Carolina Beach Skate Park at Mike Chappell Park, 501 S. Dow Road, Carolina Beach [Map this].
Date posted: February 3, 2011