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Skaters get on board at new Santa Clarita Skate Park

Large crowd gathers for grand opening

Posted: March 28, 2009 12:35 a.m.
Updated: March 28, 2009 6:15 a.m.

Ten-year-old Cory Frutos of West Covina shows off some moves inside the 10'-11' bowl during the grand opening of the Santa Clarita Skate Park Friday afternoon.

The city of Santa Clarita unveiled its new $1.5 million, 40-000-square-foot skate park Friday, drawing hundreds of anxious kids who couldn't wait to put wheels to concrete.

"It's perfect," said Tyler Cannon, a 15-year veteran skater sponsored by Val Surf. "Santa Clarita got it right."

Situated in the Centre Pointe section of Santa Clarita, the new park offers skaters and bike riders large bowls, a street plaza, half-pipe tunnel, snake runs and "skate-able" planters.

"If I have kids out here in the skateboard park enjoying this, then they're not in local business areas vandalizing, causing problems, and making graffiti," Mayor Frank Ferry said.

The city first opened a skate park in 1998. The 12,000-square-foot park proved popular, and 10 years later the city proposed to close it and build a larger facility.

The move proved controversial: Skaters and some of their parents protested the closure, and the city worked to find a compromise

Finally it agreed to bus skaters to some locations outside the valley while the new park was under construction.

One element of the new park is realism. Stairs, handrails and stamped concrete were designed to provide similar conditions to those of a city street.

"The spacing is important and we've made sure the skaters won't be on top of each other," said Kanten Russell of Solana Beach-based SITE Design, which served as lead designer for the new park.

Russell, a former professional skater, participated in community meetings that solicited input from local skateboarders and BMX riders before designing the new park.

"The stamped-brick concrete feels real," he said. "It's the kind of thing you might find" in a downtown neighborhood.

California Skateparks, the construction company responsible for building the new park, was on the scene with a 37-foot skateboard.

The big board, built to scale and featuring all the parts of a normal skateboard, has been recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest in the world.

Kevin Sudtell, a skateboarder and second-grade student at Mountain View Elementary School, was eager to hit the concrete as he adjusted his elbow pads and helmet.

"The other (park) was way too crowded," said Kerin Sudtell, Kevin's mother. "But we'll probably be out here a few times a week now."

Kevin, a skater since age 5, was excited to see the new park and to catch a glimpse of professional skateboarders who turned out for the opening.

The new park is just another step in the city's expansion of the Santa Clarita Sports Complex at the corner of Centre Pointe Parkway and Reuther Avenue. Future projects include a new gymnasium, a soccer field and BMX racetrack.

"It's going to be the place to go," Ferry said. "It's a huge investment in our youth and our families."

The Santa Clarita Valley Skate Park is open Monday through Friday from noon to 9 p.m., and from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.


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