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Skateboarders jubilant over Calexico's decision to build park

April 25, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Danny Arias, 10 and Cesar Reyes, 12, jumped up and down with excitement outside of Calexico City Hall following a public meeting concerning skateboard parks.

They said they were happy the Calexico City Council voted unanimously to build a skateboard park near the under-construction Nosotros Park on the west side of town.

Danny and Cesar, best friends who live near each other in the Rainbow Park subdivision, said the new park will be great and close enough for them to get to.

The decision by the council came after the majority of residents and children who spoke during the meeting favored one large skate park on the west side of town instead of two smaller parks split between the east and west sides of the city.

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On a motion by City Councilman John Renison, the council voted to build a "first-class" skate park near Nosotros Park and look into building a second park in the near future.

Danny, Cesar and more than 60 children who came to City Hall on their skateboards or bikes (or via a parent) applauded the decision.

Mayor Victor Carrillo thanked the youth of the city for coming to the meeting and told them the park would be fast-tracked.

Still, Jorge Barrientos, 17, was a bit disappointed with the council's decision.

He along with his friends at Vincent Memorial High School live and skate in the Victoria Estates subdivision on the east side of town.

He came to the town meeting in support of the proposed Rancho Frontera park site.

Discussion during the meeting concerning that possible location was mostly negative.

Residents of the area complained there would be no parking for dropping off children. Some said the site, a retention basin in the Rancho Frontera area near a playground, was a bad spot for a park.

Others said they favored one park so rivalries wouldn't be sparked.

Sixteen-year-old Eric Rubio said the concern about skaters fighting with each other over park location was overblown.

"Skaters are skaters. They know what's up," Rubio said.

Juan Verdugo, director of Calexico's economic and community development department, said Rubio was correct.

"I've traveled to a number of skate parks in the San Diego area and the one thing I heard from a number of operators about was the lack of fighting that takes place at the parks," Verdugo said.

He said skaters develop a fellowship with each other, "a brotherhood of skaters, if you will."

Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419.

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