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New skate park gets thumbs up from local skaters at VIP preview exclusive!

Posted: March 27, 2009 1:45 p.m.
Updated: March 27, 2009 10:45 a.m.

Mike Franklin, 23, of Saugus, and a member of the advisory committee for the design of the new Santa Clarita Skate Park, jumps a ledge at the park's VIP preview Thursday afternoon.

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The new 40,000-square-foot, $1.5-million Santa Clarita Skate Park holds its grand opening today at 3:30 p.m., but around 40 local skateboard enthusiasts scored a VIP preview shred session under sunny spring skies Thursday afternoon.

Two hundred skaters visited Mayor Frank Ferry's "Mayor Dude" Web site to apply for a VIP pass, and the 40 winners were those who offered the best suggestions for the new park's code of conduct.

Most of the VIPs attend local schools, but a few parents in their 40s and 50s also strapped on helmets and pads to join their kids for a ride.

A few BMX riders checked out the snake runs and the 9' by 13' bowl, too.

"It's a great skate park," said 12-year-old Castaic Middle School sixth-grader Garrett Vaughn. "It's huge and has everything. My favorite is the snake run. You just carve through it and then just grind. It's really fun."

Better than sitting at home playing a video game? "Yeah, way better," Vaughn said.

"It's pretty amazing, especially the bowl," said Hannah Green, 13, an eighth-grader at Castaic Middle School. "We haven't had anything like this out here for a while, especially bowls. Everybody likes to ride them."

As to the code of conduct, Green said, "My suggestion was that this should be a place where everyone can skate without having to worry about what goes on around them -- just have fun and not worry about anything."

Green was among several girl skaters shredding the bowl with the guys, most of whom were older, but not necessarily more experienced. They stood on the bowl's edge waiting their turns, whooping it up as she banked up the sides and carved through the half-pipe.

Her mother, Tina Green, sat on a nearby wall, taking photos. "(Hannah's) here because skating is her life -- it's all she wants to do," she said.

It's a Green family affair. "We've driven to a place where one of the top female skaters in the world skates to meet her and skate with her, just because we love this sport so much," Tina said. "We go to all the X-Games. We watch it all."

She said Hannah and her skater friends have been talking about and waiting for this day for months.

"Since the day they closed (the old park), and prior to that, when they were anticipating closing it, it's been the talk (at home)," Green said.

"There's been a lot less skating. And that's how (Hannah) gets out all her energy, and gets all of her good energy back."

"This (park) blows the other one out of the water," said Mike Franklin, 23, of Saugus, one of three advisory committee members who collaborated on the new park with the city of Santa Clarita and Site Design Group, the Solana Beach-based company that blueprinted the park.

"You can't even compare them really because this is twice the size, and the other one wasn't built too well, kinda like construction workers who didn't have plans," Franklin said. "But the people who built this have just mastered the site design  it. It's amazing."

Franklin said he's been to "hundreds" of parks all over the country in the 11 years he's skated.

"This is definitely one of the best parks I've ever been to, by far, because there is just a huge variety," he said. "They've got quarter-pipes, bowls, snake runs, stuff like that. There are street obstacles like stairs, rails, ledges -- everything you could possibly want to have is here. It's amazing we have this out here (in Santa Clarita). I'm very happy."



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