Oct 25, 2023 - News

Scoop: Lauridsen Skatepark gains certification

Lauridsen Skatepark. Photo: Courtesy of Polk County Conservation

Lauridsen Skatepark is being certified with USA Skateboarding during a public event Sunday, Polk County and Catch Des Moines officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: The designation means the facility will be a regional skateboarding hub and likely attract more Olympic-qualifying events, Laura Jass, director of sports for tourism advocacy group Catch Des Moines, tells Axios.

Catch up fast: Lauridsen Skatepark is a nearly $7 million project that opened in spring 2021 along the DSM River downtown.

  • It hosted the Dew Tour soon after opening, a U.S. qualifying event for the sport's debut in the Tokyo Olympics that summer.

Of note: The 88,000 square foot facility is free to the public and remains the largest skatepark in the nation.

A photo of the Dew Tour
Skateboarder Sakura Yosozumi during the 2021 Summer Dew Tour in Des Moines. Photo: Courtesy of the Dew Tour

State of play: USA Skateboarding is a governing body of the sport.

  • Polk County government, which owns and operates the park, sought the group's certification to help promote the facility and the sport, county spokesperson Jessica Lown tells Axios.

Zoom in: Factors like safety and levels of difficulty are considered as part of the designation, Norm Sterzenbach, president of Skate DSM, tells Axios.

The intrigue: DSM police previously had a "three-strikes-and-you're-in-jail" policy to discourage public skateboarding.

If you go: Sunday's event at the park from 11am-2am includes appearances from professional skateboarders.

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