Fremont residents upset over skate park location

April 13, 2011 1:12:44 AM PDT
A project that has divided the city of Fremont for more than a year got the go-ahead Tuesday night from the city council, but that decision may not be the end of the controversy. Opponents are now considering a lawsuit.

Skateboarding isn't just a sport. For skaters in Fremont, it's a way of life. However, their lifestyle is missing one crucial element -- a skate park.

"We have spots like this where we skate, but there are signs up that say we can't. So we're risking getting tickets and other things like that. There's no real legal place for us to skate," said skateboarder Chris Harmon.

Now the city of Fremont wants to give skaters a state of the art skate park, right next to an existing water park on Paseo Padre Parkway.

"I'm not pleased at all," said Fremont resident Bob Fifield. He hates the proposed site since he lives right across the street from it. "There could be more graffiti, they could stay and watch the houses across the way, waiting for people to leave and then break into houses."

"Just because skaters will be there does not mean it's going to bring crime or anything else," said Fremont resident Janelle Ludwig.

City leaders listened to the back and forth Tuesday night. Park opponents want the new skate park at a site a mile away from their homes and closer to the police department.

"Skateboard parks have been known to increase calls for service due to injuries to skaters, lack of safety equipment, graffiti, loitering, and violation of the time limits of parks," said opponent Cynthia Positano.

Regardless, city planners insist the proposed location is perfect.

"Making it close to a water park kind of highlighted the both of them a little bit more," said Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman.

"We're for the park, my son, my wife? so we say, 'Go skateboard park,'" said Fremont resident Corey Cardwell.

The council voted unanimously in favor of the skate park's location next to the water park. Construction will begin in April 2012. Opponents say they're considering their next move, which could mean legal action to stop the project.

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