Ramping up the fun

Enthusiastic skateboarders were joined Tuesday by Mayor Donald Voss, LCUSD Board President Susan Boyd and members of the city's Parks and Recreation Commission for the dedication of the La Cañada Flintridge Skate Park's new half-pipe — a 20-foot long, roughly 5-foot deep concave metal platform boarders use to launch themselves into jumps and other tricks.

The new half-pipe replaces a smaller version made of wood that had become weathered and warped over the past nine years.

Having a smooth metal surface with regular contours to skate along makes the new half-pipe less challenging for boarders to navigate, especially younger ones, said Tim Shepard, a St. Francis High School graduate who owns Billy's Board Shop in Montrose. Shepard also teaches La Cañada Community Center-sponsored youth skateboarding classes on Saturdays at the skate park.

Also, "You get more speed," said 11-year-old Ethan DeMoulin, a Paradise Canyon Elementary School sixth-grader whose parents prefer him using the skate park to wandering the city looking for unintentional boarders' play areas.

Skate-park visitors must wear helmets and pads and must remain under adult supervision, keeping young boarders safe and out of trouble, said Boyd.

The park, located at 4490 Cornishon Ave., is open from 3:30 to 5 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 to 5 p.m. Sundays. Boarders must sign safety waivers to enter.

La Cañada Flintridge is one of only a few places in the area that benefits from a monitored skate park, said Parks and Recreation Commission member Joe King, himself a skateboarder.

The skate park, said Shepard, "is able to stay positive because it's well-managed. This is probably one of the better facilities I've come across in my experience, and I'm proud to be a part of it."

Voss attributed the skate park's success to ongoing facility joint-use agreements that include the skate park, Lanterman Auditorium, playing fields, La Cañada High School's library and tennis courts, and even Memorial Park.

"None of these things would be possible with the school district alone because they're typically squeezed with state funding. The city is squeezed too, but together we can make these things come true. In the old days you called it synergy: one plus one equals three," Voss said.

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