Farmington Hills’ Riley Skatepark receives design award

Riley Skatepark is earning mainstream props after becoming an instant hit with the skating crowd when it opened last summer.

The Farmington Hills-based skatepark received a Facility Design Award from the Michigan Recreation & Park Association. The award recognizes the skatepark’s innovative design, functionality, aesthetics, and positive community impact. It also helps that there isn’t a comparable skatepark within reasonable driving distance.

“There really is nothing in the Midwest that compares to it,” says Bryan Farmer, recreation superintendent for Farmington Hills.

Riley Skatepark goes beyond the typical concrete hills, ramps, and rails that dominate the stereotypical skate parks in the Midwest. Riley has an eight-foot-tall cylinder that resembles a sewer pipe built into the ground instead of above it and a variety of in-ground features resembling concrete pits and ditches. The idea is to give the park a “West Coast” feel that most local skaters have yet to experience in Metro Detroit.

The 29,000-square-foot venue is the newest attraction at Founders Sports Park at 35500 Eight Mile Road between Gill and Halstead roads, near the Farmington Hills Ice Arena. It attracts about 150 people a day and hosts a number of skateboarding events. A national competition is set to take place there in 2011.

“Pretty much all day long there are people there,” Farmer says.

Source: Bryan Farmer, recreation superintendent for Farmington Hills
Writer: Jon Zemke