Skateboarder Omar Reyes coasted down the concrete hill, past the concrete stairs, the concrete swimming pool and up a cement ramp - launching six feet above the ground. Back on earth, he glanced around the sprawling new Fremont Skatepark where dozens of skateboarders attempted tricks across the rumpled topography.
“Fremont’s always needed a park like this,” Reyes said. “We’ve been waiting five to eight years and to finally get this and it’s incredible.”
The brand new skate park in Fremont’s Central Park opened quietly on May 31 – or at least that was the idea. The city informed four people it planned to take down the temporary fence surrounding the new park that afternoon.
“It was supposed to be at five and it happened a little bit later,” said Kelly King, Fremont’s superintendent of recreation. “It was like the Berlin Wall coming down - everyone came in.”
The actual formal ribbon cutting is scheduled for June 19, but the new $2.2-million park will likely be well broken in by then. Every day, skaters from around the Bay Area and beyond have rolled-in as early as 6 a.m. to ride the slopes, and pools – even a staircase with a genuine handrail.
“That’s what kids are used to riding,” said Jordan Richter, a professional skateboarder who will teach classes at the site. “That’s what epitomizes street-skating, having a skating handrail on a street is part-and-parcel with the experience.”
The proposal park skated ever-so-slowly through years of delays and red tape. The facility had to be relocated across Central Park after neighbors complained. Neighbors of the new location also weighed-in with fears about potential noise. The city did a study – determining the sound of skateboards wasn’t any worse than the sound of cars.
“We really feel like there’s going to be a lot of self-policing with stuff that’s going on,” King said. “They’re very proud of their park and they don’t want to lose it.”
Reyes, who’s been skateboarding since he was 11 years old, said he was excited to finally have a place to skate where he wouldn’t be hassled by authorities.
“At skate spots you’re always worried about cops showing up or getting kicked out by the security guards,” Reyes said.
King said the skaters gave the city plenty of input on the design. He said even before the facility opened, skaters snuck onto the construction site, leaving Post-it notes with suggestions.
Richter said the city planned to eventually host skate contests, clinics and other events at the site. His own summer skateboard classes at the park have already gotten a big response. With his small son standing on a board, clutching his father’s hand, Richter took in the site of skateboards flying in all directions around him.
“In all my 28 years of riding a skateboard I’ve never seen a park like this to be honest with you," Richter said.