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By Madeline Drace                  
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Posted on Tuesday, August 9, 2011  
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Bell Street Park hosted the groundbreaking ceremony for the new East Palo Alto Skateboarding Center. It was a proud moment not only for the East Palo Alto City Council members involved, but also for young skateboarders who now have a place to exercise and have fun.

“The skate park will be a positive recreation outlet for our kids who have been asking for one for some time,” said East Palo Alto Mayor Carlos Romero, who, in his usual fashion, arrived at the ceremony on his bicycle.

Though planning for the temporary skate park has been going on for nearly two years, the park is set to be finished by the end of August.

One of the greatest motives for building the park was to make skateboarding more accessible and convenient for East Palo Alto’s youth. Jimmy, a young skateboarder at the August 5 ceremony, commented that, with the local park, “We won’t have to go all the way to Menlo or Redwood City [to skate].”

“We’ve really hit the ground running to get this finished,” said Vice Mayor Laura
Martinez, who, along with Council Member Ruben Abrica, has been one of the most fervent proponents for the skate park. Romero commented that the two of them have been “incredibly instrumental.”

Abrica was one of the first on the council to spend time talking with the largest market for the skate park, the skaters themselves.

“It’s been a very collaborative effort between the skateboarders, their families, the Council, and the community,” stated Abrica. Though he has never skateboarded himself, with the new park becoming a reality, “Maybe this will be [his] chance to learn.”

“Abrica and Martinez have really championed for the park,” said Redevelopment
Manager Marie McKenzie.

City Manager ML Gordon thanked Council Members A. Peter Evans and David
Woods for their efforts to get the skate park underway. He also thanked East Palo Alto Maintenance Division Manager Jay Farr and his staff, and other city departments who have been “instrumental in getting this project done quickly.”

The new skate park represents the community’s commitment to create a safe and supervised area for the youth and to make the city’s parks “more family-oriented.”

Finally, skaters will get a place of their own in East Palo Alto. As Council Member
Woods put it: “The time for the youth is now. You said what you wanted, and you got it.”

To contact the author of this article, Madeline Drace, send an email to epatoday@epatoday.org.




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