Parkour, the sport of moving efficiently—and stylishly—through urban environments, officially came to downtown Boise on June 1, when city officials cut the ribbon on a parkour course in Rhodes Skate Park. The course looks like a playground for adults, with cement walls of varying heights, a large tree trunk and structures that resemble a bad-ass take on classic monkey bars.
"We have taken one of the most challenging pieces of real estate in the city and made it a destination,” said Boise Mayor Dave Bieter at the ribbon cutting.
City of Boise
Boise Mayor Dave Bieter at the unveiling of the parkour course at Rhodes Park.
In addition to the parkour course, new public art is a big part of revamping Rhodes Park. Artists from local collective Sector Seventeen
designed and painted murals, using bright colors and geometric shapes framing black-and-white portraits and incorporating sections of murals painted under the overpass in 2003. According to Boise City Department of Arts and History Director Terri Schorzman, the art aims to display the “integration of human figure into the urban environment.
"Finch Tower" by local artist Stephanie Inman
was also unveiled. The sculpted landmark sign, visible from 15th Street features a yellow finch, the favorite bird of late park founder, Glenn Rhodes.
Across the park from the tower, 11-foot-tall graphic letters designed by Trademark Creative spell out R-H-O-D-E-S. In the park is a metal fence by Seattle-based artist Perri Howard
, which Schorzman said was designed with “lines inspired by the motions and movements of athletes in the park."
All of this activity couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. One week after the June 1 unveiling, Rhodes Park will be the setting for the men’s and women’s skateboarding and men’s BMX qualifying events
for the Summer 2017 X Games, July 13-16 in Minneapolis.
“I never imagined that just weeks after the project was done, [Boise] would be hosting the X Games,” said Mayor Bieter.