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Skateboarding Mecca's Granite Gets New Life In Sweden

Douglas Bovitt
Mike Cole, of Jenkintown, right, performs a kick-flip over a trash can with his skateboard as tourists pose for photos in front of artist Robert Indiana's sculpture in JFK Plaza, also known as Philadelphia's Love Park, on April 1, 2002.

Granite from a Philadelphia park that was a skateboarding mecca, though for a long stretch an illegal one, is being put to new use at a skate park being built nearly 4,000 miles away.

Slabs from the city's famed LOVE Park, named for Robert Indiana's LOVE sculpture, are being shipped to the city of Malmo, Sweden.

Malmo's skateboarding coordinator told KYW-TV that the granite will be used for a project he says will "rock the skateboarding world."

The park adjacent to Philadelphia's City Hall was long a popular destination for skateboarders. It was featured in a Tony Hawk video game and partly credited for bringing the X Games to Philadelphia in 2001 and 2002.

But from 2003 to 2016 skateboarding was banned at the park, with skaters risking fines if they were caught using it. Now, the area is undergoing a major redesign that it is turning it into largely green space, effectively killing its use as a skating venue.

A Philadelphia organization that advocates for skateboarding had control of the granite.

"Well, of course, it's sacred and to share that with another city making a skate park that used that granite was very attractive to us," said Josh Nims, a founder of the group.

Malmo skateboarding coordinator Gustav Eden said his city has "learned that skateboarding is not detrimental to urban life but can actually be an asset in activating spaces."

Some people move to Malmo to skate, he said, and top sponsors like Vans hold competitions in the Swedish city.

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