SANTA CRUZ > Facelift of historic skate park draws local nostalgia, ire, and some hasty negotiations by city officials
The face of one of the first public skate parks in the world is being replaced by four inches of rebar and concrete. Derby Skate Park, which was built in the 1970s, is a landmark of skateboarding history stationed on Santa Cruz’s Westside. Recently, Santa Cruz public officials felt that the timeworn curves and slopes of Derby had become too dangerous to allow.
“Derby Skate Park is undergoing a much needed resurfacing,” says Mauro Garcia, parks superintendent of the City of Santa Cruz. But Garcia noted that the community is, to put it mildly, miffed about the repairs.
“When Zack [Wormhoudt] went to the city to fight for his father’s park, the city told him that the bell had been rung,” says local skater Owen Commons. “[City councilmember] Ryan Coonerty wrote to my brother [and told him] that it was a foregone conclusion.”
Skaters and community members were angry largely due to what they saw as poor communication by the city regarding the impending repairs. The city has changed tack recently, and has moved to work more closely with the local skating community following the rush of public outrage.