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07.01.09

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Skate park puzzle

By P. Joseph Potocki


Santa Rosa is prepared to allow a guerrilla addition made to its skate park in the middle of the night by local skateboarders—if those behind the concrete work can provide plans showing that it was formed and poured in accordance to the city's building code.

City workers discovered the newly dried concrete ledge Monday morning last week. With stretched budget resources to jackhammer the concrete, the city instead hung a flyer to the skate park's fence promising the ledge can stay if documentation is given showing how it was tied into the existing structure.

Such user-generated additions are rare, says Parks and Recreation superintendent Lisa Grant. "If we don't know if it's constructed in a way that's safe for the users, we have an obligation to remove it," she says. "But it appears to be constructed quite well, it appears to be a feature that the skateboarders are using and want. We want the users to be happy. It's their park."

Built in 1994, Santa Rosa's 17,000-square-foot skate park holds a special place in the hearts of local skaters. Pro skater Tony Trujillo began his career as a regular, and Tony Hawk once stopped by to skate the park in 1995. But nine other skate parks have since been built in the North Bay, and Santa Rosa's is considered out of date.

Brian Henderson of Brotherhood Board Shop in Santa Rosa says the local skateboarding community has embraced the new ledge. "It's rejuvenated the skate park for a lot of people," he says. "For the last 15 years, ledges have been a huge part of progression in skateboarding and tricks in general. Pretty much any skate park that's worth its weight in recent years has ledges and blocks—even though to the normal person, it just looks like a block of cement. But it's a huge thing for skateboarders."

 

Grant says she hopes someone comes forward soon with plans, while acknowledging that it's an unusual situation. "In the future, if there's a desire to change or add on to the park, we'd like to work with those people. We don't want to be blindsided and have it happen by the midnight masqueraders; we want to be a part of it and give them credit for it," she says. "So we're trying to work with them—we just don't know who it is we're working with."

Those with information about the skate park addition are encouraged to call the Santa Rosa Parks and Recreation Department at 707.543.3292.


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