Hundreds of children and young adults turned out to celebrate the grand opening of a new skate park in Lincoln Heights last Saturday.
The skate park was designed by legendary skater Lance Mountain and California Skateparks, and is the 33rd sports facility donated to the City of Los Angeles by Nike and the LA 84 Foundation.
Paul Rodriguez Jr., and the Nike SB team christened the spot as part of the March 5 grand opening ceremony. Rodriguez Jr., known as P-Rod in the world of professional skateboarding, says there are many positive things to be gained from skateboarding, but having a place to practice is the key to getting started.
“When I first started coming up—and I’m sure a lot of you out here can relate to this—if you don’t have a designated place to go skate and practice, it’s hard…” because people are always kicking you off their properties or your getting tickets, said Rodriguez who has his own non-profit skate foundation. “It just makes you feel like you’re doing something wrong.
“You’re trying to work on your craft and do something productive with yourself. So that’s the whole idea behind this, give the kids a place to skate without any one bothering them or feeling like they’re doing something criminal or delinquent.”
“To be honest, I’m jealous of you guys because I wish I had this when I was growing up…” Rodriguez said.
The Skate Spot lends itself to different styles of skateboarding. Its inspiration was simply to get back to the basics, said skate park designer Mountain in a written statement. “The goal was to produce something that is reminiscent of the early days of skate culture when kids would teach themselves balance and control by riding hills. This skate spot is built with a slight angle, 7 degrees in some places. It combines street elements with a traditional snake run to create a truly distinctive skate experience.”
The “Lincoln Park Skate Spot” has ramps, stairs, rails, and curves and angles like a swimming pool in some places, and best off al, it’s not off limits like the recently restored Lincoln Park Gateway which now has skate stops on the benches.
Councilman Ed Reyes (CD-1) said he hopes the new skate park will draw young people away from the strong gang culture in the area and create a new wave of inner city athletes.
“I was sharing with Paul Rodriguez [Jr.] earlier that this park, this skate board park, this whole environment is about giving you the young people a chance to think differently, to talk about a structured environment, a sport that says we can do something else with our lives other than getting caught up in the drug culture and the gangs,” Reyes said.
Reyes asked the skaters to take care of the park, to discourage tagging among their peers and report illegal activity to the authorities.
The new skate park was funded with $200,000 provided from the LA 84 Foundation, which dates back to the revenues created when the city hosted the Olympics in 1984, Reyes said.
The project is a collaboration between the City’s Department of Recreation and Parks, The Paul Rodriguez Skate Foundation, the LA 84 Foundation, Nike SB and Los Angeles Councilmember Ed P. Reyes who represents the area.
EGP filmed portions of the skating demonstration, to watch the videos, visit EGPNews.com