East Palo Alto Mayor Ruben Abrica joined skateboarders Thursday afternoon at the reopening of a city skate park that was closed for months. A ceremony was held to mark the reopening of the 5,000-square-foot skate park at Bell Street Park on University Avenue.
The facility originally opened in December 2011 with funding from private grants and $70,000 in city funds. It closed last August after city officials determined the temporary equipment was overused and no longer safe.
After a nearly $30,000 makeover, the skate park opened again Thursday with permanent, more durable equipment, East Palo Alto community development deputy director Sharon Jones said.
Mayor Ruben Abrica reflected on the years of meeting with the skateboarding community to build the facility. "That was the most significant element," he said. "It really was a collaborative effort."
Skateboarders and their families told the mayor and other city officials they had to travel long distances to Menlo Park or Mountain View to find a skate park, and suggested Bell Street Park as an ideal location to build a facility.
The reopening marks the permanence of the skate park, Abrica said. "It's there to stay," he said, adding that the city is considering building a larger facility in the future.
The remodeling brought in new features, including a quarter-pipe, two jump launches, a grind rail and a skate table, which looks like a picnic table but is intended for boarders to practice tricks on, Jones said. "I think kids -- well, skateboarders -- are pretty excited," Jones said.
The East Palo Alto YMCA has partnered with the city to keep the facility open more hours, seven days a week, city officials said. This month, the skate park is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
Beginning in April, the park will stay open until 8 p.m. on weekdays.