New sports facility in Fremont, Part II

skateparkFremont is strongly considering building the new skate park near the old Swim Lagoon in Central Park, directly north of the Water Park. The city has $1.2 million to build the park, which officials say will be a lot bigger than the old one (photographed above), which closed last year.

A vote on the project consultant is scheduled to go to council next week, and the park is expected to open in 2012.

Matt Artz


  1. Two years to build a skate park? Isn’t that about the same amount of time it took for the physical construction of the Paseo Padre Parkway grade separation? Any explanation as to why so long?

  2. Design, check, review, approve design (by recreation commission, planning commission, and city council). Perform environmental assessment and publish results. Wait the appropriate time for public review per state law. Call for bids, review bids, award contract to lowest bidder. Schedule timing to get the best bidding climate and schedule construction to get the best construction environment (least probability of rain) and contractor’s schedule after award.

    I would guess, not knowing the state of design, that the contract would go out to bid the end of this year when contractors are looking for work and when they would get the best bids. A couple of months for the bids to come in, a couple to review and approve the bids by council, and contract awarded in spring of 2011, with construction during the rest of the year and opening in the spring of 2012 when the weather clears up.

    Much of the time is mandated by state bidding and contracting laws regarding public input and fairness to the bidders and to the public. Spending the public’s money ought to be difficult, fair, and open.

    And the PPP undercrossing started about six or seven years ago, maybe more.

  3. Too bad the lengthy process to build a permanent skateboard park couldn’t have started during the time we had the temporary structure, which was eight years. This would have been a shovels ready project now.

  4. Unfortunately, the temporary facility was not a great success. Many (most?) skateboarders don’t like to wear the required safety gear the city mandates to keep from getting sued. It seems to me that skateboarding is as much a social activity as it is a sport and the social part of it is better done in a less structured environment.

  5. VOR, the item before the council next week is just to chose the consultant. They still have to design the thing.

  6. I’m not a skater myself, but I check these places out when I see them, the city run ones are often locked up due to safety issues or vandalism. It is too bad, because I think they can be great fun for some kids.
    One time I was at the Lake Liz skate park with my kids, we had razor scooters since none of us are any good with skateboards (not having infinite time to hang out and practice, which is what being good on a board requires). Even though we were the only ones there, we were politely told to leave by a ranger (who I know was only doing her job and who I am on good terms with). If the city builds a new skate park, they really need to talk to the community to get the right balance of rules, access and freedom.

  7. Greer Park in Palo Alto has been very successful and a great, largely self-managed-by-users-with-gated-access facility.

    Red Morton in Redwood City added a skate facility in the last several years.

    The techniques of enforcing or lack thereof requirements for safety gear is not the issue that drives utilization in either case. Each of these two examples have differing approaches to the “safety” gear requirement – in the Greer Park instance, you can’t even enter the gated facility without having your “gear” on. . . . . my point is only that requirements to wear appropriate gear by skaters is seemingly not a hinderance in the case of these two very popular venues.

    Personally, I speculate, that utilization of these two resources is considerably enhanced by their respective locations, both of which are surrounded by a high density of residential and (importantly) with other entertainment facilities (softball, playground, daytime picnic resources) – – resulting in a synergy of available activies for various family members – – while mom and or dad are playing softball, junior is closeby but skating. – etc. good times.

  8. I believe the intent is to build the new skate park on the grounds of the water park facility. If so, it may provide greater accessibility to the skate park, time wise. The old facility was locked up more than it was open and closed in the winter months entirely. This one should be a 365-day a year facility. That said, we know the water park is not soooooo…..

  9. And, putting the Skate Park in vicinity of Lake Elizabeth is a great thought . . . perhaps it can be integrated into its environ in a manner more suitable than that blue and gold thing.

    It is probably silly to suggest, but I would hope that staff working on this project might make an attempt to visit several *successful* skate facilities and consider what does work in terms of location and, just as importantly, operating policies.

    A skate facility which is located in the parking lot behind the local jail – and with nothing else in “eyeshot” distance for mom or dad or brother or sister . . . . is the antithesis of the successful skate venues I am aware of.

  10. City should not spend a huge amount of our taxapayer on a skate park where they can expand the water park so the city can make more profits. I’m total against havng
    a skatepark there. They should build the skate park at a different location.

  11. RE#9, Bruce,

    A major consideration for the city regarding skateboard parks is the liability for injury. There is specific exemption in state law for skateboard parks, considering that the city has stringent rules for protective gear and that they enforce those rules.

    That exemption does not extend to other uses, such as moto cross bikes or raxor scooters, which is why you were asked to leave.

    Another problem with the old facility was the range of expertise and ability of the users. Often, the beginners were shunted aside by much more experienced and aggressive skaters. And, having a resident supervisor was very costly for a free operation.

    I recall the day the facility opened. The Argus had a front page picture of a 24 or 17 year old Newark resident doing tricks. My response was I didn’t vote to build the facility for 24 or 27 year olds or for people from Newark. I did suggest, and got no support, that users would have to show a report card with a C average to gain entry to the park.

  12. Marty –

    You’re out of touch – you need to go visit these facilities . . . . .

    Burgess park is (again) the antithesis of our skate park in the parking lot behind the jail.

    While it is (as you are quick to point out) *near* the other public facilities you describe (PD station, City Haul, City Library) – – MOST importantly – it is ALSIO within easy “eyeshot” of the other entertainment facilities which provide alternatives to other members of the family. Neither of which OUR temporary skate park facility delivered on.

  13. Marty – you ought to re-re-read your own post #13.
    A tad bit more than “just a link”
    Mistaken again I s’pose . . . .

    Re head gasket . . . . . quite the contrary, I look FORWARD to these exchanges.

  14. Never thought it was Marty – but *that* new line of rationalization seems rather obtuse given post #18.

  15. So – baby seals Marty concludes to be “pesty” – ??

    Most folks that use the word “metaphor” make at least some attempt at establishing a resemblance between the metaphorical example and the reality – – – but “baby seals” just dont fit in this case, do they, Marty ?

    If not threatening this is certainly a very irrational and troubling line of reasoning.

    Gosh – some might even reasonably conclude that Marty has himself – “blown a head gasket”.

  16. Useful updates and ways to contribute on the skate park project appear in this weeks’ TCV – (I’d provide a link but the URL naming convention TCV uses creates a conflict) – See this weeks’ issue –

    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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