Here’s How a Tortoise and a Hare Inspired the Lynch Family Skatepark

It finally opens this weekend.

lynch family skatepark opening

Photo provided

The much-anticipated Lynch Family Skatepark, a $5 million undertaking by the Charles River Conservancy, is finally about to open.

The initial idea for the park came two decades ago from—of all people—Nancy Schön, sculptor of the famous “Make Way for Ducklings” statues in the Boston Public Garden. The artist was inspired to take action after learning that local skateboarders, who had been jumping over her “Tortoise and Hare” statues in Copley Square, had no dedicated space to practice.

“I went down to Copley Square ready to scream and yell at them, which I started to do, and I started talking to them, and I discovered that they were just wonderful kids and they were terrific athletes,” Schön told WBUR last year. “So I thought, ‘I think I really would like to turn this around.'”

Years later, the skateboarders finally have somewhere to go.

The park, which pays tribute to Schön with large cement etchings of a tortoise and hare, spans 40,000 square feet in East Cambridge, underneath access ramps to the Zakim Bridge. It will not only accommodate skateboarders, but also BMX riders, inline skaters, and spectators.

lynch family skatepark opening

A tortoise and a hare are etched into the cement at the Lynch Family Skatepark, as a nod to Nancy Schön / Photos provided

At the ceremony on Saturday, the Boston Landmarks Orchestra will perform in honor of philanthropist Carolyn Lynch, who passed away in October. Alongside her husband Peter, Lynch donated $800,000 to the project on behalf of the Lynch Foundation.

Although a formal groundbreaking took place last October, fundraising efforts for the project had began more than a decade earlier, when the Tony Hawk Foundation provided a $5,000 seed grant in 2003.

Over the following years, in addition to the Lynch Foundation, shoe and skateboard apparel company Vans became a key donor, providing a $1.5 million boost. Vans had also committed to an annual donation of $25,000 for seven years to the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation, which will maintain the skatepark.

Local officials, as well as skateboarding legends Tony Alva and Ray Barbee, will attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which will begin at 10 a.m. and is open to the public.

The Lynch Family Skatepark will remain open year-round.

lynch family skatepark opening

The skatepark is located underneath access ramps to the Zakim Bridge / Photo provided