Editorial: From Surf City to Skate City

Public-private partnership is a term that political types bandy about as a salve for various problems that the government cannot easily solve alone. Though we hear this term emerge from the mouths of politicians all of the time, we rarely see it executed in truly meaningful ways.

That's why we must credit Huntington Beach City Hall and Vans for paying more than lip service to this noble but rarely practiced idea and partnering to deliver a world-class skate park that will serve generations of Surf City skaters.

The shoe company and the city deserve credit for — to use a little skater lingo — grinding through all of the red tape to bring the 42,500-square-foot Vans Off the Wall Skatepark to a location on Center Avenue about a mile from Bella Terra. For those who don't recall, the city allowed Vans to lease the 3-acre property for $1 a year if it agreed to build and maintain the $2.5-million park.

Perhaps the coolest thing about this deal is that the center is free to all. Vans may get the publicity and marketing exposure, the city a slice of increased sales tax revenue from all those visitors, but skaters get a great place to practice a sport that was developed and advanced on the sidewalks of Southern California.

We have to agree with Mayor Matthew Harper, who attended the weekend park opening in — what else — a pair of checkered slip-on Vans similar to those worn by Jeff Spicoli (played by Sean Penn) in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

"Thank you so much, Vans," Harper told the crowd. "You have done a great service for our community, and this isn't just for Huntington Beach. This is for Orange County and the region."

Sounds like Surf City is becoming Skate City too.

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