Natty Bwoy classes

Katon Blackburn joins a group of kids as they skateboard around the old basketball court in Kenwood Community Park on Sunday, March 28. 

Parents in Hyde Park and Kenwood are petitioning the city to prioritize the repaving of Kenwood Park. 

The flat-top at the multi-use recreational area west of the tennis courts at the park, 1330 E. 50th St., hasn’t been resurfaced in more than 20 years, according to Lina Fritz, a local resident and managing director of program innovation at the nonprofit OneGoal. 

That section of Kenwood Park was largely unused for several years — recently, however, local bicycle and skateboard shop Natty Bwoy Bikes & Boards has been using it to offer free skateboarding lessons during the weekend. 

“This section of the park is a great place for learning how to skateboard, roller skate, bike, or scoot. However, it is splitting and cracked in multiple places that can make it more frustrating and even unsafe for beginning learners,” wrote Fritz in a letter accompanying the petition, which grew out of the Hyde Park Area Parents Facebook group and has garnered more than 130 signatures since early April.

To the Herald, Fritz added that she witnessed firsthand how dangerous the cracks on the foundation were when she herself took a fall one day. 

The improvement requests also include renovations to the toddler play area. 

Prentice Butler, chief of staff for Ald. Sophia King (4th), recently met with Fritz and neighborhood mom Shenita Johnson and urged them to work alongside the Kenwood Action Council and the Arts and Parks subcommittee to prioritize a list of park improvements. Fritz said the council is looking for more funds for the initiatives.

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