OAKLAND, CA – The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and the City of Oakland failed to come to an agreement over the use of two skateparks located underneath an elevated section of Interstate 580. Either way we feel skateboarding is not a crime!!!
Much to the dismay of the local skate community, the Macarthur Maze skatepark was demolished Thursday, according to a story found on KTVU.com. A separate skatepark, Bordertown, will be demolished in the coming weeks.
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Both parks were created by Bay Area skaters using their money, blood, sweat, and surely, as of late, their tears. The issue of the DIY parks being built illegally came to a head six years ago when Caltrans first wanted to get rid of the skaters. Advocates stepped up to urge the City to keep the skateparks open. Even California Senator Barbara Boxer voiced her support. The City eventually conceded, leasing the space from Caltrans.
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Advocates of skateparks argue that these spaces provide a safe place for local skaters, including at-risk youth who may otherwise be susceptible to drug-use or gang violence, to hang out.
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Support for the Oakland skate spots continued. As recently as last December, Thrasher Magazine and Fallen Footwear held a fundraiser to try and save the park. The event was featured in Transworld Skateboarding and picked up press around the world.
In spite of the skate parks supporters, as of yesterday, the City of Oakland could not come up with the cash to renew the lease for these two sites.
It’s unclear why the City of Oakland failed to renew the lease, though budget cuts are likely to blame. You would think sales tax revenue from local pot dispensaries could easily pay for the park?
Caltrans spokesman Bob Haus was quoted by KTVU.com as saying, “We feel badly about this, but the fact is that if something is on state right away (sic) we have to be accountable for that. If someone is injured, there is a certain amount of liability we have to face.”
Fair enough in our eyes, It’s just the unfortunate reality of our litigious society.