When Kerry Weber moved back to Pennsylvania to open Switch and Signal Skate Park in Swissvale, he knew he wanted it to be an inclusive space.
“These spaces should be open to everyone, and I definitely feel that it has been a boys club,” said Weber. “Where you’re a young typical male, it’s a place that’s easy to fit in, but it does lock a lot of people out.”
Skating gave him a creative outlet and helped build confidence, he said, and he hopes the park will get more people, especially girls, to enjoy those benefits, too.
“Part of that is offering lessons and getting people onto skateboards that might have always had an interest, but there was an intimidation factor,” he said.
Weber said he picked a spot near transportation lines in a residential neighborhood to give kids a safe, accessible place to practice. The park, located in a former bowling alley at 7518 Dickson St., will be brightly lit to mirror the experience of an outdoor park, he said. Kids can expect a variety of ramps and rails intended to cater to skaters of all experience levels.
In addition to beginner classes, it will also offer a café and gear shop.
Weber said Switch and Signal is expected to open this month, pending a final fundraising push to finish construction.