By Cassidy Klein
Linda Vista skate park opens to praise
The new 34,000-square-foot skate park in Linda Vista may be gaining renowned attention from professional skaters, but for three local teens, the park serves as a new homebase for challenge, growth and fun.
“We used to just skate everywhere,” said Max Rodriguez, 15, from Clairemont, referring to him and his friends, Jaycob Bronx, 16, from Sierra Mesa and Brian Lopez, 15, from Clairemont.
“We would go Downtown, to National City, La Jolla,” Lopez said. “But this skate park is really cool. The good thing about this park is, like, you can just cruise.”
Lopez, Rodriguez and Bronx said they started coming to the park a month before it opened, and have since come multiple days in a row.
“I like skating because I set goals for myself,” said Rodriguez. “It’s nice to just skate again.”
The park, located in Linda Vista Community Park, includes a 360-degree pipe, rails, steps, bowls, and a pedestrian bridge across the middle where observers can watch from above.
“I skate cause it relieves stress,” said Bronx. “And this park has everything you need.”
In 2014, the city of San Diego received a grant of $4.46 million from the State of California Department of Housing and Community Development to design and construct skate parks in the Linda Vista and City Heights communities. The finished Linda Vista skate park is one of the biggest in the state and officially opened on Jan. 23.
“This is a project that was of special value to me,” said San Diego City Councilmember Scott Sherman, who represents Linda Vista. “It’s an amenity for Linda Vista that will live on for a long time and kind of put Linda Vista on the map.”
Chris Limon of Linda Vista has been an active advocate for the park and helped bring the idea to the City Council in 2013.
“My wife and I noticed kids were collecting in front of the library after school to skateboard,” Limon said. “One day, I was walking through the parking lot and was joking with them saying, ‘Hey, you kids should go to the town council and advocate for a skate park.’ They later asked if I would help them with that and I went with them. After that, it took off.”
Limon continues to support the park and runs a Facebook page, LVskatepark, which keeps the community updated on events and happenings.
“You have concerns being in Linda Vista with things like graffiti,” Limon said, “but everyone has been pretty respectful of the park so far.”
Skaters all over Southern California have traveled to Linda Vista to enjoy the park, said Sherman. He also met a skater who traveled overseas.
“I kinda think it’ll be transformative for Linda Vista,” Sherman said. “Linda Vista has traditionally been a lower-income neighborhood, and with the attention that this park will create, I think it could be transformative.”
A sense of thrill and adrenaline is palpable throughout the entire park. It’s a concrete playground for both beginner and skilled skaters — on skateboards, scooters, roller blades and BMX bikes — which creates an intense, competitive and exhilarating environment.
“Skating is an adrenaline rush,” Lopez said. “There’s a lot of snakes here.” (“Snake” is slang for people who don’t wait in line at skateparks, or who are inexperienced.) “That means you crash into everybody.”
But to Jessica Ortega and David Bess of Linda Vista, the various skill levels represented at the park is what makes it unique.
“[The park] is very family-oriented,” Ortega said. “Young kids, older kids, it’s very diverse. I think it’s good for the area, good for the community.”
Bess said he hadn’t skated in 10 years, so having the park in the community encouraged him to get back into the sport.
“I think our work really begins now,” Limon said. “We have the skate park, and now it’s a matter of what to do with it. In the summer, we will try to integrate the community more with workshops, inviting different kinds of people over, etc. Getting the park was stage one, now the hard part starts. I’m happy to have done my part. Big things are happening in Linda Vista.”
— Cassidy Klein is an editorial intern for Mission Valley News’ parent company San Diego Community News Network. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.