Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Aug 29th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Remembering Derby Park

derby 2SANTA 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.

“Because the public has demonstrated quite a bit of interest in Derby, the project team has met with several representatives of the skating community,” Garcia says. “[We] will be incorporating changes to the design which will incorporate both aspects of the original design of Derby as well as components which have long been desired by the skating community at Derby Park.”

Some proposed alterations to the park include (skater terms incoming) a 40-foot section of “original style” double-sided lip near the top of the “snake run,” a 48-foot section of “original style” double-sided lip around portion of the bowl, a “rocket pocket” at the beginning of the “snake run,” and increased height to the lower hip.

Garcia also points out that the proposed designs are coming from in-house, so to speak.

“The repairs were designed by Wormhoudt Inc.—the original designers of Derby,” says Garcia. “Every effort is being made to keep the form of the skate park, with only minor changes to areas that have historically been trip hazards, and added improvements associated with the original design of Derby.”

Mike Greenwald, the concrete contractor for the repairs, is a skater himself. Additionally, Zach Wormhoudt, son of original designer Ken Wormhoudt, was brought on for consulting.

Derby was notable for weathering the storm of skate park closures in the late ’70s and early ’80s due to skyrocketing insurance costs.

“Derby is skateboarding history,” says Commons, echoing a widespread sentiment among the skateboarding community. Although, while some feel that the repairs are for the best, others feel that the city’s move is an attack on an historical monument.

The project is scheduled to be completed on May 17.

PHOTO: Santa Cruz skater and 2011 X Games Gold medalist Raven Tershy at Derby Skate Park. Photo by Matt Scott.

Comments (4)Add Comment
...
written by Santacruzin, May 04, 2012
Yep, one of the first places I ever skated. Lots of fun times. Went to Natural Bridges too right in front of it. I hope they don't mess it up. Just leave good things alone...
...
written by James Alley, May 04, 2012

We shouldn't bemoan the upcoming 2012 overhaul, because it has the potential to fix some of the problems related to that ~1990 overhaul. It may even add new elements. So let's have some faith.

In other words, "purists" shouldn't be upset, because this might return Derby to its original state. And Derby haters might find that the improvements make it more fun than ever.

Certainly 20 years is long enough for Derby to go without maintenance. I for one am thrilled that Derby is not simply being jackhammered. I'm glad the city is investing in its future while keeping an eye on its past history.
...
written by James Alley, May 04, 2012
I've skated Derby for decades. Everyone should keep in mind that around 1991 Derby was overhauled, and it completely changed the experience of riding Derby. While that previous overhaul ruined certain aspects of skating Derby by taking away certain lines and destroying the long lips, it also improved the park in some ways, making it more accessible to novices and a bit cleaner. New styles of play developed.
...
written by TheDude, May 04, 2012
My father took me for my first time at Derby. I skated my yellow banana board in the spring of 1982 --I was 7. Many memories followed. They better get this right.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Meaning of ‘LIFE’

With a new documentary film about his work, and huge exhibits on both coasts, acclaimed Santa Cruz nature photographer Frans Lanting is having a landmark year. But his crusade for conservation doesn’t leave much time for looking back

 

Seasons of Opportunity

Everything in our world has a specific time (a season) in which to accomplish a specific work—a “season” that begins (opportunity) and ends (time’s up). I can feel the season is changing. The leaves turning colors, the air cooler, sunbeams casting shadows in different places. It feels like a seasonal change has begun in the northern hemisphere. Christmas is in four months, and 2015 is swiftly speeding by. Soon it will be autumn and time for the many Festivals of Light. Each season offers new opportunities. Then the season ends and new seasons take its place. Humanity, too, is given “seasons” of opportunity. We are in one of those opportunities now, to bring something new (Uranus) into our world, especially in the United States. Times of opportunity can be seen in the astrology chart. In the U.S. chart, Uranus (change) joins Chiron (wound/healing). This symbolizes a need to heal the wounds of humanity. Uranus offers new archetypes, new ways of doing things. The Uranus/Chiron (Aries/Pisces) message is, “The people of the U.S. are suffering. New actions are needed to bring healing and well-being to humanity. So the U.S. can fulfill its spiritual task of standing within the light and leading humanity within and toward the light.” Thursday, Aquarius Moon, Mercury enters Libra. The message, “To bring forth the new order in the world, begin with acts of Goodwill.” Goodwill produces right relations with everyone and everything. The result is a world of progressive well-being and peacefulness (which is neither passive nor the opposite of war). Saturday is the full moon, the solar light of Virgo streaming into the Earth. Our waiting now begins, for the birth of new light at winter solstice. The mother (hiding the light of the soul, the holy child), identifying the feminine principle, says, “I am the mother and the child. I, God (Father), I Matter (Mother), We are One.”

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of August 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Land of Plenty

Farm to Fork benefit dinner for UCSC’s Agroecology Center, plus a zippy salsa from Teresa’s Salsa that loves every food it meets

 

If you knew you had one week to live, what would you do?

Make peace with myself, which would allow me to be at peace with others. Diane Fisher, Santa Cruz, Network Engineer

 

Comanche Cellars

Michael Simons, owner and winemaker of Comanche Cellars, once had a trusted steed called Comanche, which was part of his paper route and his rodeo circuit, from the tender age of 10. In memory of this beautiful horse, he named his winery Comanche, and Comanche’s shoes grace the label of each handcrafted bottle.

 

Cantine Winepub

Aptos wine and tapas spot keeps it casual