Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
May 27th
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 New Tech Nexus

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

 

Off Her Meds

Kristin Wiig runs wild—and transcends her sketch comedy roots—as a truly strange character ‘Welcome to Me’

 

Gate Openers

Up-and-coming artists like Ryan Bingham are a great reason to show up early to the Santa Cruz American Music Festival

 

Gemini Sun, Pentecost, Shavuot—Enlightenment and Gladness

As the sun enters Gemini on Sunday, sign of speaking, communication, thinking, inter-relations, writing and understanding languages, the feast days of Pentecost & Shavuot (Catholic and Jewish festivals) occur. During Pentecost’s 50 days after Easter, tongues of fire appear above the heads of the disciples, providing them with the ability to understand all languages and all feelings hidden in the minds and hearts of humanity. It’s recorded that Pentecost began with a loud noise, which happened in an upper room (signifying the mind). The Christ (World Teacher) told his disciples (after his ascension) when encountering a man at a well carrying a water pot (signs for Age of Aquarius) to follow him to an upper room. There, the Holy Spirit (Ray 3 of Divine Intelligence) would overshadow them, expand their minds, give them courage and enable them to teach throughout the world, speaking all languages and thus able to minister to the true needs of a “seeking” humanity. Pentecost (50 days, pentagram, Ray 5, Venus, concrete and scientific knowledge, the Ray of Aquarius) sounds dramatic, impressive and scary: The loud noise, a thunderous rush of wind and then “tongues of fire” above the heads of each disciple (men and women). Fire has purpose. It purifies, disintegrates, purges, transforms and liberates (frees) us from the past. This was the Holy Spirit (Ray 3, love and wisdom) being received by the disciples, so they would teach in the world and inform humanity of the Messiah (Christ), who initiated the new age (Pisces) and gave humanity the new law (adding to the 10 Commandments of the Aries Age) to Love (Ray 2) one another. Note: Gemini is also Ray 2. Shavuot is the Jewish Festival of Gladness, the First Fruits Festival celebrating the giving of the 10 Commandments to Moses as the Aries Age was initiated. Thus, we have two developmental stages here, Jewish festival of the Old Testament. Pentecost of the New Testament. We have gladness, integrating both.
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

What’s your take on Santa Cruz locals?

Santa Cruz locals are really friendly once you know them. I think a lot of them have a hard time leaving, and I would too. Ryan Carle, Santa Cruz, Biologist

 

Soquel Vineyards

If Soquel Vineyards partners Peter and Paul Bargetto and Jon Morgan were walking down the street wearing their winning wine competition medals, you’d hear them coming from a mile away. This year was particularly rewarding for the Bargettos and Morgan—they won two Double Gold Medals and five Gold Medals at January’s San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

 

Flats Bistro

Pizza with an artisan twist comes to Aptos Beach

 

Should Pacific Avenue be a one-way street, two-way street, or pedestrian only?

I would definitely support closing off Pacific Mall to cars. I think that would be wonderful. Jim Grey, Santa Cruz, Builder