In 2015, we launched Upward Intuition, our mission: to secure funds and rally for a public skatepark in Downtown Pensacola. The road was arduous, yet perseverance prevailed, and today, the Blake Doyle Skatepark stands tall, a testament to our efforts.
One of the most remarkable aspects of the whole project was witnessing a group of kids transform into skatepark advocates, observing their years of diligent work, and finally seeing their efforts materialize in the form of a skatepark.
Now that we have a skatepark, our goals moving forward will be slightly different, yet our unwavering commitment to the youth remains paramount.
Our aspirations encompass hosting professional skate demonstrations and competitions, establishing clinics and camps to acquaint a broader audience with skateboarding, and nurturing advocates and leaders capable of spearheading skateparks and skate spots within their own neighborhoods and beyond.
In 2018, we crafted a video to vie for the coveted Gannett Foundation’s grant, “A Community Thrives.” Our fervent aim was to unveil the profound lessons of resilience imparted by skateboarding, while showcasing the potential of the Blake Doyle Skatepark to unite our community at large. And lo! The winds of fortune smiled upon us, as Upward Intuition emerged victorious, bestowed with a generous $100,000 from the benevolent Gannett Foundation! With hearts elated, we directed this windfall towards nurturing the “Beginner Section” at the Blake Doyle Skatepark.
‘Forgotten Youth’ is a series of blog posts we wrote in early 2015 to identify a problem in our community and offer a solution in the form of a public skatepark. We wanted to shine some light on a vast and seemingly forgotten demographic. We pointed out that the City had 93 public parks filled with playgrounds, basketball courts, tennis courts, and sports fields – but offered little for skateboarders, bladers, and bikers.
Perhaps because this more alternative group didn’t have a safe place to practice their chosen art form, they would take to the streets in search of new challenges. Skating in the streets is often illegal, and run-ins with property owners and the police become the norm. As a result, many of these kids begin to feel like outcasts and criminals. Sometimes, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy where many of them end up becoming that.
A space where they were offered encouragement and guidance? What if they were celebrated instead of vilified? I believe the outcome would be different for a lot of kids.
Although the Blake Doyle Skatepark will be for people of all ages and interests, our primary focus is providing a safe, challenging, and positive space for our City’s ‘Forgotten Youth’ where they can learn and grow.
This transformative Greenway will reconnect two neighborhoods, providing a walkable, skateable, bikeable, and art-filled corridor that leads into Downtown Pensacola and the waterfront. It’s not just about aesthetics either—the design includes stormwater management to address the area’s historical flooding issues.
The design was guided by HDR Engineering, the same firm behind Atlanta Beltline, renowned for its neighborhood connectivity and revitalization, the Greenway promises a bright future. And we’re thrilled to announce that the Blake Doyle Skatepark will be a part of it.
With recent funding secured by the City, construction is on the horizon. Stay tuned for more updates on this exciting project!
Although Upward Intuition begin in 2015, there have been groups pushing for a skatepark in Pensacola since the “Paved Wave” (Pensacola’s original skatepark) closed in the late 70’s. The Blake Doyle Skatepark will be a culmination of all those efforts.
The park will be designed for day-to-day skating and professional events, but will include additional areas focused on elements from general health, early learning, art, and music. There will be activities and amenities for people of all ages and interests, from children to seniors in the larger Hollice T Williams Greenway, that the skatepark will be located within.
Recently, Pivot Custom was hired to design the Blake Doyle Skatepark. PC recently designed and built the Lot 11 Skatepark under I-95 in Miami and has built incredible skateparks around the country.
“On this episode we chat with Jon Shell from Pensacola Florida. Jon’s work with Upward Intuition led to the making of a world class skatepark project. Learn how he turned a passion project into civic action and what’s helped him stay the course toward his goal of bettering the community in more ways than one.” -Tony Hawk Foundation