QUARTZ HILL — The grand opening ceremony of the new $2.1 million skate park at George Lane County Park brought hundreds of skateboarders and scooter riders together with Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger, county officials, and other dignitaries Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the project’s completion.
A red velvet rope separated the crowd of skateboarders, a mix of youths and adults male and female, from the skate park, 5520 West Ave. L-8, at 55th Street West.
They waited patiently as officials talked. But after about 10 minutes they chanted “let us in, let us in” a few times to hurry the speakers along. With an estimated 500 people in attendance, the ceremony likely holds the Antelope Valley’s record for the highest attendance ever at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. It also might hold a record for the shortest, as officials were cognizant of the eager crowd to their left.
The skate park replaced a little-used horseshoe pit area in the northern part of the park, which is operated by the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.
Shaped by the goal of preserving as many trees as possible, the 15,000 square-foot skate park design features a five-foot to seven-foot, five-inch bowl, a beginner-friendly “snake run,” and several street elements including stairs, grind rails and grind ledges. The work also included adding shade, seating, a drinking fountain, a bicycle rack and a lighting system.
In collaboration with the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, and local artists Michael Parker and Todd Ciborowski, a highly tactile and large-scale sculpture was incorporated to allow viewers to physically engage in the geography of the skate park’s location. In pursuit of the artists’ idea that skateboarders are explorers of the land and defy the rules of bi-pedal humanity, they nested the sculpture into the looped path with gravity-defying skateable features.
“The art you’ll find out really does highlight the intersection between athletics and the arts and it features the region’s unique geography on a rad quarter-pipe,” Barger said.
Barger thanked everyone in the community who worked to make the skate park happen.
“I want to congratulate the entire Quartz Hill community because this is a testimony to the commitment you have to really give back to the youth,” Barger said.
The County conducted several community meetings in 2015, at which local residents and skaters expressed the need for specific amenities to maximize the experience of the park space.
Funded by Los Angeles County, in part through a parks tax measure approved in 1996 by county voters, the skate park was designed and constructed by Rialto-based Spohn Ranch Skateparks, which has built close to 1,000 skate parks around the United States and overseas over the past 30 years. The company is also building a skate park at Jane Reynolds Park in Lancaster.
“We’re creating little safe spaces for these young guys to go skate,” said Aaron Spohn, president and founder of Spohn Ranch Skateparks. “I believe that skate parks save their lives, give them constructive things to do, and I’m just honored to be part of that.”
After the officials, spoke the youth rushed out onto the park to demonstrate their skills on the park’s bowl and other elements.
“I just started skateboarding so I’m like really excited I have a place to do it,” 11-year-old Kaeylyn Wilson said.
Alex Garcia, 12, said it was fun to enjoy the park.
“I think it brings the community together,” Alex said.
Palmdale resident Patrick Williams, 24, also brought his skateboard.
“It’s something different, after so many years they finally opened up a park,” said Williams, who started skating when he was eight years old.
“This park is really nice because they have bowl and a quarter-pipe, which is really nice,” said Palmdale resident Joseph Kuehn, who turns 12 years old on Friday.