Bigger and better

Local boarders give thanks for long-delayed skate palace

Nice curves: The new Granite Regional Skate Park is being touted as the biggest and best in California.

Nice curves: The new Granite Regional Skate Park is being touted as the biggest and best in California.

Photo By Don Button

The mother of all skate parks in California will open in Sacramento this Friday at 10 a.m.

The city poured about one and a half million bucks into shallow fun bowls, tiled deep pools, a three-quarter pipe, a bank-to-curb reservoir, and a street plaza with stairs, ledges and handrails. All are features of the new Granite Regional Skate Park on Ramona Avenue off of Power Inn Road.

“We’re going to open the biggest, best skate park in California at Granite Regional Park,” Sacramento City Council member Kevin McCarty said, calling the regional park a “2-acre gem.”

“Its size and diversity of terrain make it unique,” said Wally Hollyday, Granite’s design mastermind. “It will attract a large cross section of skaters.”

Local skaters are stoked. “The layout looks incredible,” said skate enthusiast Jairet Crum, “It caters to street and transition skaters alike.”

“We deserve it,” said Curtis Franklin, who’s skated since 1975. “We paid our tax money toward something like this—we’ve waited so long.”

About five years ago, the Sacramento Skatepark Advocates, a grassroots volunteer group of skateboarders and parents, challenged the city to meet its needs—and got the nod.

“We heard the need; skateboarding is not going away, it’s getting very, very popular,” said Janet Baker, the city’s director of park operations. “They’ve been very anxious and impatient, and we’ve taken a long, long time, [but] we get along very well,” she said of the SSA and the city.

Picking a site and design took up years one and two of the park project, and lack of funding held up the last three, according to Baker.

“We never want to rush into opening something to the public,” added Hindolo Brima, spokesperson for the city parks and recreation department. “We make sure everything is how it’s supposed to be and that it’s safe for everyone.”

Park signage asks skaters to wear helmets and knee and elbow pads—and skate at their own risk. The city won’t supervise the park or charge fees for a six-month trial period to see how it goes. All ages may enter, but park staff said parents should address safety issues with their kids.

“Skateboarding operates free of rules,” Franklin said. Sounding-off in letters, e-mails and at community meetings, local skaters helped shape the city’s decisions on the details. “The city’s giving us the benefit of the doubt,” he said. “Skateboarders don’t want to get hurt,” but whether or not to wear protective gear, “comes down to a personal choice.”

“If people are going to get hurt, they’re going to get hurt. They do it for the passion of the sport,” Crum said. “Everyone is out there to conquer a new trick—to progress in the sport.”

Hollyday said of designing the park: “It is a very advanced skate park, but it still has something for all ages and abilities. I hope it serves as a great example of what a regional skate park can be.”

Franklin thinks that the park is in good hands. “Skateboarders will take pride in making sure they can skateboard there,” he said.

After opening day, the skate park tentatively is scheduled to operate from 8 a.m. to dusk. According to the city’s draft of rules, only skateboards and in-line skates will be allowed. The city plans to install lighting by spring or summer to facilitate night skating.