Skate Free Miami: A Lot, Vision, Passion and Community Spirit

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(DGIwire) – Look closely at this picture because Skate Free at Lot 11 in Miami, FL is a prime example of what can happen when three people who share a vision and passion—and an immense love for skateboarding—come together for the benefit of many, working with city officials to bring positive change to their community.

Professional skateboarder Daniel Fuenzalida traveled the world with a personal dedication to pushing the limits of skateboarding before ultimately landing in Miami about 10 years ago. The son of Chilean/Australian parents, Mr. Fuenzalida found his life’s passion not only through the thrill that skateboarding provided, but also as an advocate for skateboarding education and positive mentorship of children who might not otherwise have opportunities to shine within their community. A couple of years ago, he founded Skate Free, an organization dedicated to teaching kids how to skateboard.

Effs, Katz, FuenzalitaAs luck would have it, Mr. Fuenzalida crossed paths with Nick Katz, an avid skateboarder and artist with a BFA from the New World School of Arts. Mr. Katz was the creator of the Grand Central Skate Spot project in downtown Miami and a vocal leader of the “do it yourself” (DIY) skate park movement in Miami. Katz rapidly defined himself as a passionate advocate for redeveloping underserved areas in Miami.

Add Richie Effs, an established entrepreneur and owner of the Miami hotspot Morgans Restaurant, and an active member of the community. After hiring Mr. Fuenzalida to give lessons to Zion, his skateboarding prodigy son, a friendship blossomed. Soon, Misters Fuenzalida, Katz and Effs partnered, planned, lobbied and fundraised with a goal of bringing a new “skate free” park to Miami.

Calling on talents, connections, family and city officials—Skate Free, Lot 11 Skate Park went from vision to reality. On March 23, 2016, Lot 11 Skate Park officially opened to enthusiastic skaters of all ages.

Thanks to a matching plan proposed between Mr. Katz’s family and the City of Miami, plus funds raised from the help of generous private donors along with the winning of a public space challenge posed by the Knight Foundation, more than $600,000 has been raised for Lot 11 Skate Park, with another six hundred thousand dollars committed by the City of Miami.

Zion AirborneThe 40,000-square-foot Lot 11 Skate Park is located on NW 2nd Street, under the I-95 Freeway, just two blocks from the downtown Government Center. Lot 11 opened with what Fuenzalida, Katz and Effs are calling “Phase One” plaza-style ledges and transition-on barriers. The modular plaza offers flat ledges, an A-frame ledge, a cool Wallie piece, some flat bars with Manny pads everywhere, plus barriers—all made skate-able like any enviable “DIY” park. Basically, DIY skate parks are uniquely characterized by their raw feel and creativity. Lot 11 has hit the mark on all characteristics necessary for making this skate park a successful example of what can be accomplished through vision and collaboration between city officials and passionate and generous community members.

Accessible from all four major boroughs in Miami, skateboarders of every age and skill level are already putting Lot 11 Skate Park to great use.

For more information, go to Skatefree.org or check out the posts on Instagram @skatefreefl

Congratulations to the City of Miami, along with Daniel Fuenzalida, Nick Katz, Richie Effs and all of those who have contributed their support and hard work to make Lot 11 Skate Park a reality.

 

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