East Palo Alto skate park breaks ground

Temporary center kicks off a permanent park to open later in August

A skateboarding center designed to move young people away from violence on the streets broke ground in East Palo Alto Friday (Aug. 5).

City officials opened a temporary 5,000-square-foot center while plans are under way for the permanent East Palo Alto Skateboarding Center, city spokeswoman Marie McKenzie


The final center, which is tentatively scheduled to open later this month, will measure about 15,000 to 18,000 square feet, McKenzie said.

Vice Mayor Laura Martinez and Councilman Ruben Abrica have spearheaded construction efforts.

"It allows our youth to have a public space that they can occupy, where they can gather in plain view and engage in a healthy activity," East Palo Alto Mayor Carlos Romero said.

The skate park was created to prevent youth violence and to provide children and teenagers with a healthy and fun alternative to gang membership.

"It does get some of our kids off the streets and into street-style skateboarding," he said.

About $70,000 from hotel-tax revenue and the Park In Lieu fund will be allocated for the skateboarding center, he said. The Tony Hawk Foundation, created by professional skateboarder Tony Hawk, will also provide a planning grant, McKenzie said.

With the number of skateboarders in the city, McKenzie said she is confident the skate park will be popular among young people.

"It's an activity where they can be from dawn to dusk, and it's a place to call their own," she said.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place at 1:30 p.m. at Bell Street Park, near University Avenue and Bell Street.

— Bay City News Service

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Like this comment
Posted by Skateboarder
a resident of Barron Park
on Aug 6, 2011 at 3:07 pm

I was a skateboarder from ages 5 to 13 and stayed out of trouble the entire time and got A's in school. I stopped skating from 13 years to 17 years old and did nothing but skip school and drink alcohol. When I started skateboarding again near my 18th birthday, I was back to A's in school and doing well in life. It truly does give kids something to do that will keep them out of trouble.

Like this comment
Posted by OldDude
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 6, 2011 at 9:06 pm

I walked by that shop on University that sells really nice skateboards, and really thought about getting one no matter how ridiculous I might look as a late 30-somthing on one of those things. I always wanted one when I was a kid, but my mom never let me get one.

Anyway, I think this is great. Good exercise, community, camaraderie. Enjoy it!

Like this comment
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 8, 2011 at 4:05 pm

Can't help remembering we used to take apart roller skates and nail them to a piece of two-by-four.

Like this comment
Posted by concerned
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 8, 2011 at 8:13 pm

I maybe slow and not smart, I still do not see how this will help prevent/reduce crime or other illegal behavior. Who comes up with these, just do not consider that parents need to take care of kids initially. Parents should be held accountable. No excuses. You bring them into this world bring them up as law abiding good citizens.

Like this comment
Posted by Sol
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 10, 2011 at 12:00 am

@concerned resident, Yes parents need to take responsibility for raising healthy responsible children. It is also great to live in a community where there are healthy activities to keep our youth busy and active during their free time. Thank you City Counsel for your continued work at improving the quality of life in East Palo Alto. We have a YMCA, a Grocery Store/Shopping center, our streets are being repaired, our school district has made great improvements and our parks are looking beautiful and holding great family events. We must highlight and focus on the wonderful things happening in our community!!

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