Save the Saratoga Skatepark

By Megan Dority — / The Biz

Death Wish Coffee to Match Donations Up to $25,000 to Rebuild the Saratoga Skatepark

We’re happy as hell to announce that we’re all hands ON DECK to save the Eastside Rec Skatepark in our hometown of Saratoga Springs. Developed in 1989, this skatepark has been skated by legends and has served as a safe space for individuals of all ages and backgrounds ever since.

In partnership with ON DECK, we’ll be matching donations up to $25,000 towards rebuilding a new, concrete skatepark in Saratoga. This partnership represents our commitment to youth culture, as well as our passion to give back to our local community by supporting the city’s iconic skatepark. Donations can be made at the skatepark’s GoFundMe page from April 15-June 1, 2022.

Unfiltered Q&A About the Saratoga Skatepark

A group of young children skating at the Saratoga Skatepark.

What Impact Has the Saratoga Skatepark Had on Your Life? 

Thomas Dragonette, Senior Art Director: The Saratoga Skatepark played such a significant role in shaping me into the man I am today. Name another place a kid can go, unsupervised, that exposes him to a gang of multigenerational, racial and economically diverse people. Those lines don’t exist in skateboarding. Every single person growing up came to that park with their own style, experiences and backgrounds—skateboarding is the thing that unified us. The skatepark opened my eyes at a very early age to the importance of individuality and nonconformity. I want to make sure the next generation has that same opportunity.

The Saratoga Skatepark is a storied piece of skateboarding history, having hosted contests and demos since its construction, and existing for years as one of the only public skateparks in New York State, as well as the state’s oldest. Many skate industry icons, famous musicians, artists, pro skaters and even a few Death Wish Coffee employees spent their formative years at the park. It’s also the birthplace of the Silly Pink Bunnies, an international skateboard crew with roughly 500 members. 

What Was It Like Growing Up Skating at the Saratoga Skatepark?

Jeremy Fish, Legendary West Coast Visual Artist and Co-Founder of the Silly Pink Bunnies: I love that skatepark so much. No other athlete [or sport] from that park went professional [besides Kenny Reed], started the biggest brand name in their sport [Element] or had two signature shoes from major sporting goods brands [our gang]. It went from being the most under-appreciated sport in the park, to being the most culturally important 35 years later—without coaches, teams or supervision.

How Has the Sport of Skateboarding Shaped You?

Benj Gleeksman, Vice President of ON DECK Saratoga: People have come to realize that skateboarding provides a healthy outlet for kids who don’t necessarily take well to more mainstream activities. With skateboarding now in the Olympics, its acceptance has grown exponentially. More importantly, it becomes an identifier for many kids and defines who they are and who they become as people, just as it has done for me.

A young girl dropping in on a skate ramp at the Saratoga Skatepark.

Since its last facelift 20 years ago, the Saratoga Skatepark has needed an upgrade to become a modern, poured-in-place, concrete-constructed facility like the majority of skateparks around the world. For the past ten years, ON DECK Saratoga has been hosting a variety of skate events and art shows to raise awareness and fundraise for this project. In 2021, the city of Saratoga Springs agreed to allocate $265,000 towards the new skatepark, priced at $350,000. ON DECK agreed to fundraise the remaining $85,000, which is when Death Wish Coffee made the decision to do what it could to help the needed upgrade.

Why Is Saratoga Skatepark Fundraising Effort So Important?

Mike Brown, Founder of Death Wish Coffee: I don't skateboard, and I'm sure I'd be horrible if I started at age 41. Still, the stories I hear from our senior art director about growing up in Saratoga Springs, and the influence the skateboard community, and specifically the Saratoga Skate Park, has had on his life makes me wish I was there to join him years ago. The skatepark and all parks in Saratoga Springs provide gathering spaces for residents to come together to make memories, which makes living and working here a great joy. Death Wish Coffee is honored to have the opportunity to help build the spaces that serve to create these magic moments.

A rendering of the Saratoga Skatepark rebuild featuring an all-concrete skatepark.

How Can You Support the Saratoga Skatepark?

Donations can be made at the skatepark’s GoFundMe page from April 15-June 1, 2022. Death Wish Coffee will be matching donations up to $25,000 to rebuild the park.

Stay tuned for more details and donate now to help revitalize this historic and overall epic place. Be sure to save your receipt of donation—there might be some rad stuff you could win with it pretty soon.

DONATE NOW: Save the Saratoga Skatepark

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