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Skateboard park opens

December 15, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Precariously poised on the edge of a 6-foot half-pipe, Jacob Reyes leaned forward so his skateboard was parallel with the horizon.

For a half second he was weightless.

Gravity took hold.

The 17-year-old and his board hurtled down the 45-degree slope of this city's new purple half-pipe.

His wheels made a "clata-clata-clata" sound as they passed over the seams in the surface of the pipe.

Standing on the other side of the pipe, Reyes sported a wide grin.

On Saturday afternoon, Reyes and hundreds of children from all over Calexico tried out the new skate facility at Nosotros Park as the park officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Before heading down the slope one more time, Reyes offered his opinion of the park.

"It's cool," he said.

The 15-acre Nosotros Park is near the New River basin off Kloke Road in the southwest part of town.

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In addition to the skate park, Nosotros Park has picnic areas, colorful playgrounds, basketball courts and a multipurpose field.

State Assemblyman Dave Kelley, who represents the Valley, was on hand for Saturday's ceremony, which included a performance by the Calexico High School Mighty Bulldog Marching Band.

Kelley, when he represented the Valley as a state senator, secured $750,000 in state funds for the park's partial construction.

When general fund budget strings in Sacramento tightened and a half-constructed park was in danger of becoming a haven for graffiti artists, the Calexico City Council provided up to $500,000 to finish construction.

As soon as the ribbon was cut, Calexico kids streamed toward the new skate park, the playground area and the basketball courts.

While park-goers munched on hot dogs and checked out the new recreation gear, Kelley and former Calexico Parks and Recreation commissioner John "Jack" Anderson walked over to the edge of the park's multi-purpose field.

The field, dedicated to Kelley, will be used for soccer, football and other sports. It has been seeded but there is no grass yet growing.

On their way to the field, the two passed the playground area dedicated to Anderson.

The City Council dedicated the respective sections of the park to the two men in appreciation for their work on behalf of the park.

Kelley said he is happy with the park, although "you'd always like to have more."

He said he was able to secure the initial $750,000 for the park when "times were better" in Sacramento.

This January, the state Legislature will face a budget shortfall expected to make the state ledger difficult to balance, he said.

Anderson called the park a "dream come true." He extended thanks to "God and Sen. Kelley."

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com.

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