Caltrans crews demolish skate park under I-580

August 25, 2011 12:39:15 PM PDT
A labor of love by a group of athletic young people was torn down under I-580 at the Oakland, Emeryville border. Caltrans says a skateboard park there is illegal. The skateboarders say it keeps kids out of trouble.

Alex Fatemi took one last ride around a skateboard park that he and his friends built by hands a couple of years ago. He can't understand why Caltrans crews are tearing it down Thursday morning.

"We have been painting over the graffiti and we have cleanup days where we pick up the trash. I don't know why they don't see that as a positive push for something good," said Fatemi.

But the state doesn't see it that way.

"The harm in letting it go is that number one it sets a precedent, and number two there are liability issues, and there are crime issues, homelessness issues, all sorts of issues that arise," said Caltrans spokesperson Bob Haus.

There had been hope of leaving the spot open and perhaps working out a deal with Caltrans. But skateboarders say, with redevelopment agencies on the way out and the economy what it is, officials in Oakland and Emeryville were unable to come up with the money for the $5,000 per month lease that Caltrans wanted.

Fatemi took his petition of 600 signatures to plead his case with Caltrans crews one more time, but the fate of the park was sealed.

"I feel like something has been taken from me that I cherish so much. I was in love with this place and now someone is going to kill it. They are going to kill it, it sucks," said Fatemi.

CHP officers came in to tell Fatemi that the ride was over. When Fatemi was asked by ABC7 News where he would go from here, he said he would take his board to the streets.

Caltrans said it is negotiating with a billboard company for the land. There is another skatepark nearby that will also be taken down by Caltrans.


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