Click on each image below to enlarge.
Photos by Alba Sánchez
In the first photo, Council members Ruben Abrica and Carlos Romero stand with Abraham Martinez and his aunt Cecilia Aguilar. In the middle photo, Council member Ruben Abrica cuts the ribbon to officially open the East Palo Alto Skateboard Center. In the photo to the right, Council member Laura Martinez stands with young skateboarders.
The big moment many young skaters in East Palo Alto were waiting for arrived. It was the grand opening of the city’s new Skateboarding Center, which occurred auspiciously at the beginning of a new month, on the first day of December.
Three members of the East Palo Alto City Council along with the City Manager, ML Gordon, attended the ceremony, which was held at Bell Street Park. In opening the ceremony, Gordon spoke first and introduced Mayor Carlos Romero.
Romero, said, jokingly, that he left his skateboard at home and rode his bike to the event and was devastated that he could not bring his bike into the skateboard park. He said the park was “the mastermind” of Council member Ruben Abrica and the City’s Vice Mayor, Laura Martinez. He described himself as merely tagging along. Romero introduced Martinez and said she “was instrumental in getting us this far.”
Martinez thanked the city council for its efforts in making the Skateboarding Center possible. She gave a special introduction to Abraham Martinez, a local high school student, who came up with the idea for building a skateboard park in East Palo Alto. When he spoke, Martinez gave thanks on behalf of all young skateboarders in the city, who, now, no longer have to leave East Palo Alto to go to nearby cities to enjoy skateboarding.
City Council Member Ruben Abrica told a story to explain how Martinez and some of the other skateboarders raised the idea of building a skateboarding park in East Palo Alto. He said that during a a picnic, which was held to thank the volunteers who helped with the Cinco de Mayo celebration a year and a half ago, he heard some of the boys and their families talk about how annoying it was to have to travel to another city to skateboard.
Abrica said he was so impressed by the fact that there were so many skateboard lovers in East Palo Alto that the city erected a portable skateboarding park at the Martin Luther King Jr. Park during the city’s Fourth of July celebration. The youth had the chance to enjoy skating in the portable skateboard park until November.
While the actual construction of the Skateboarding Center, from the inception of the idea to the grand opening, took nearly two years, the youth in the city kept asking for it. They even collected signatures and Abraham Martinez sent an email to the City Council asking about the status of the project.
During his presentation, Abrica expressed his happiness that the Skateboarding Center was finally a reality. He said that he, himself, would like to learn how to skateboard, because, as he put it, it’s never too late. He emphasized that the city staff had worked hard to stay on top of the construction of the skateboard park, and he made it clear that for him and the city, the grand opening was really a day of celebration.
When Abrica invited Abraham Martinez's aunt, Cecilia Aguilar, to say a few words, Aguilar thanked the city for constructing the park as an area for young people.
After the dedications, the skaters were able to test their new Skateboarding Center. In addition, there was pizza for the attendees and there was also a raffle with a check for $100 as a top prize for the winner to spend at the Black Diamond Sports store.
To contact the author of this article, Alba Sánchez, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.