Students help flesh out new La Crescenta skate park design

Austin Seo, 17, saw almost all of his favorite skating elements when he was checking out a concept sketch for a proposed skate park in La Crescenta during a design review meeting this week.

There were ramps, rails, stairs and other obstacles that can be found on the street.

“Here we have it all and we can’t get kicked out,” said Austin, a Crescenta Valley High School senior.

La Crescenta students formed a committee about two years ago to get a skate park in the area because Verdugo Skate Park in Glendale is too far and, in their opinion, La Canada Flintridge’s skate park is subpar.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors this year earmarked $800,000 for a 10,000 square-foot skating facility in Crescenta Valley Park. In September, the board approved spending $163,500 of that on the skate park’s design.

“If they didn’t approach us, we wouldn’t even be here today,” said Frank Gonzales, deputy director of the East County Community Services Agency on Wednesday at the first of three design review meetings.

At the meeting, which was attended by about 40 people at Rosemont Middle School, groups of skaters worked together to describe what they liked and disliked about the concept sketch. They gave the street-style obstacles a thumbs up and had little to criticize.

Designer Charles Strawter said there are three types of skate park designs — the plaza look that mimics city halls, libraries and schools; those with large bowls inspired by the empty pools popularized for skating in the 1980s; and parks that focus on flow, which allow skaters to pump through the park at high speeds.

Many at the meeting said they preferred plaza or flow elements to pools.

“Honestly, this is like heaven,” said Miles Johnson, a 13-year-old seventh-grader who attends Rosemont.

Miles used to skate, but about a year ago he switched to scootering. Several at the meeting said they liked to scooter and they were excited that park designers welcomed both scooter riders and skaters for input since there often can be conflict between the two groups.

“There’s a lot of discrimination when it doesn’t matter as long as you bring what you love,” said Tyler Candejas, a 14-year-old Rosemont student.

Like Miles, Tyler also praised the design, but he said he’d like to see a 4- to 5-foot grassy area near a quarter pipe in the park so that people can jump over the space.

Devin Matthews, a 12-year-old sixth-grader from Freemont Elementary, said he would like a grind rail along a portion of the grassy jump for those who are not ready to take such a big leap.

Corbin Southworth, an 18-year-old student at Glendale Community College, said he wanted to see slanted ledges with metal edges and stairs.

“I think it’s pretty cool to put my two cents into something I like to do every day,” said Southworth, who’s been skating for six years. “There’s almost nowhere in La Crescenta where I can skate for five minutes without getting kicked out.”

A completion date for the park won’t be announced until the designs are complete, but Gonzales said he hopes it will be finished in two years. The park, unlike Verdugo Skate Park, will be unstaffed and free.

The next design review meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 22 at La Crescenta Library, 2809 Foothill Blvd.


Follow Brittany Levine on Google+ and on Twitter: @brittanylevine.


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