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April 7, 2010 > Catching big air in Fremont

Catching big air in Fremont

The clatter of skateboard wheels on benches and sidewalks can be irksome, dangerous and destructive but the skill and daring of skateboarders is often awesome as well. At issue is where such activities can be allowed providing sufficient challenges to attract all levels of expertise without compromising safety. This is a daunting task but many cities have been able to achieve success through careful design and construction of skate parks.

The City of Fremont, which closed a temporary facility in Central Park last year, has begun the process of developing a new, permanent facility. Approximately $1.2 million has been allocated by the Fremont Parks and Recreation Department to design and build a 20,000-30,000 square foot skate park adjacent to Aqua Adventure Water Park in Central Park.

Comments and suggestions from skateboard enthusiasts were solicited at a workshop held at the Fremont Community Center in Central Park on Saturday, April 27. Representatives of the City of Fremont, Verde Design and Wormhoudt Incorporated met with approximately 20 attendees who listened to speakers enlist their support to design a "distinctly Fremont" skate park. Fremont City Landscape Architect Roger Ravenstad will be the project manager and closely collaborate with Kelly King of Fremont Parks and Recreation.

An ambitious schedule envisions a follow-up workshop at the Community Center on Wednesday, May 5 from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. in which a design and video "fly-through" will incorporate suggestions and invite community response. Skate park plans are expected to be finalized by August 2010 and construction bids solicited December 2010 - March 2011. Completion is anticipated by the end of the summer 2011.

Skate park builder Zach Wormoudt noted the success of many other facilities in California cities including Redwood City, Foster City, Sunnyvale, Venice Beach, Yuba City and Santa Cruz. Corbin Schneider of Verde Design spoke of an unfenced, "open" design which would encourage participants and non-skate board spectators and incorporate art elements, lighting, low maintenance and shade structures.

Much emphasis was placed on self-policing the area to maintain a safe and clean environment. The workshop encouraged an examination of favored park elements and allowed attendees to voice their opinions as well as model concepts using clay models. After input from those attending the workshop, it was evident that a variety of terrain elements - street and bowls - were desired leading to what Wormhoudt called a "strong balance between street skating and transition skating."

Those who would like to comment on the design of Fremont's future skate park can contact Zachary Wormhoudt at admin@skateparks.com.



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