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New skate park opens in Castlegate

Concrete skate boarding ramps on street
Marioland Skate Plaza will open on Saturday.

A new ‘skateable’ street architecture project has been unveiled this week, providing a new place for street sports in the Castlegate area of the city centre. The scheme forms part of the ongoing regeneration of the area.

The ‘Marioland’ project on Exchange Street is the installation of a series of multi-use blocks and rails that can be used by skateboarders, BMX’ers and scooters.

The creation of skate architecture in Castlegate will become a destination for street sports and will create a new social hub, with skaters and pedestrians sharing the space to ensure that the skatepark is fully integrated into the area.

Under the ReNew Sheffield grant programme, many of the previously vacant shops on Exchange Street have been converted to new uses.

Skateboarding has seen a massive growth in participation during lockdown nationally and is set to continue growing, as the sport will make its debut as an Olympic event at the Tokyo Summer Games in 2021.  There are over 750,000 people who skateboard in the UK and more than 1,300 skateboarders in Sheffield. The announcement of the new skate plaza has been received positively by skaters from across the city.

The new skateboard friendly site has been created by Skateboard GB and Sheffield City Council, with over 4 years of planning from start to execution. The build was completed last week, with the rails gifted from local fabricators Steeline and the building services provided pro bono by NMCN, who are also creating the transformational  ‘Grey to Green’  project for the Council on nearby streets.

Last year Skateboard GB collaborated with Site Gallery to deliver a city centre skateboarding event, Tilt Jam, in a little used area of the city opposite the gallery. With over 200 attendees during the weekend, it provided essential insight into how the urban sport could help create vibrancy in an otherwise un-used area of the city centre.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Business and Investment at Sheffield City Council, said:
“This new installation adds to the growing range of attractions on offer in the rejuvenated  Castlegate area, which is already home to a host of new businesses including  Kommune, Kollider and the National Videogames Museum, as well as new workspaces, studios,  apartments and bars.
“That the work has been delivered in partnership with Skateboard GB and local firms is a great example of the support and goodwill that the regeneration of Castlegate is attracting. 
"Providing this space for people to use will not just create a purpose-built space for skateboarders, but will also benefit surrounding businesses and help to make the area a thriving social space.”

Neil Ellis from Skateboard GB said: “It is really exciting to see this project come to fruition, as it has been years in the making. It will provide a great space for Sheffield’s skateboard community and also make this area of the city safe for others to use once again.”

The project is a temporary installation, expected to last 2 years, but if successful it is likely that skateable street architecture will be introduced in other parts of the city and will provide the catalyst for other cities across the UK to follow suit.

Marioland on Exchange Street will officially open on Saturday 19th September.