Proposed more than a decade ago, the $3.5 million skatepark will be complete in 2019 and built to Olympic standard. It is named after Nix and Virginia Lauridsen, who gifted $1 million to the project from the Lauridsen Family Foundation.
Joining the Lauridsen Skatepark co-chairs, steering committee, business and civic leaders, were some of the 5,000 supporters who signed their name in support of the project. In addition, Josh Friedberg, pro skater and CEO of USA Skateboarding, the United States Olympic Committee-recognized national governing body for skateboarding, was in attendance.
"With skateboarding's inclusion as an Olympic sport for the first time at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, it's great to see cities looking at ways to address the focused interest and growing participation of skateboarders within their own communities," Friedberg said. "DSM is ahead of the curve — the Lauridsen Skatepark is a world-class facility and it definitely has the potential to attract regional, national and even international skateboarding events to the region."
The skatepark — a linchpin to the activation of Downtown DSM's river as part of the Greater Des Moines Water Trails and Greenways Master Plan — has been designed by California Skateparks which is widely recognized throughout the industry as the leader in skatepark design having been behind courses that are used for world championships and for Olympic qualifying.
"Having designed hundreds of skateparks around the globe, I'm excited to see the Lauridsen Skatepark in Downtown DSM become a world-class facility for the region," said California Skateparks Principle Landscape Architect Zach Wormhoudt. "We're proud to have been involved in this project and can't wait to see skaters from around the Midwest and beyond use it."
Once complete, the Lauridsen Skatepark will have the capacity to host demonstrations and competitions. The more than 65,000-square-foot skatepark will be the largest in the Midwest and could attract around 40,000 visits from skaters each year.
In addition to the Lauridsen family's donation, a number of donors have contributed to the skatepark's viability. More than $3.3 million has been raised to date. Donations are still being accepted.