Oceanside, CA (CS)

Most people imagine Southern California as the essence of skateboarding lifestyle. The weather is always cooperative, there is ample concrete, and decades of exposure has created a social acceptance of this “daredevil” activity. Unfortunately, only two of these things are true. Skateboarders in Southern California are exposed to the same stereotyping and harassment as their peers in every other state.

As a coastal community with about 175,000 residents, Oceanside is a quintessential skateboarding town. Tourists flock to the local skate shops to complete their vacation experience with a skateboard for the beach path, or to enjoy one of three local public skateparks. Oceanside is a good place to skate, but it wasn’t always so.

Not long ago, skaters recognized their need for somewhere to practice their sport. Local leaders also knew that the skateparks would help draw kids off the streets, away from the heavily trafficked tourist areas, and into sanctioned park spaces where they could safely skate to their hearts’ content. It was the start of something big.

Grand Opening of Alex Road Skatepark, Oceanside, CA, 8/30/13. Photo by Miki Vuckovich; Image Copyright © Tony Hawk Foundation 2013. For MEDIA use only.

As in most communities across the country, the skateparks weren’t achieved without a long and persistent effort by local skaters and their supporters. What was different in Oceanside, however, is that once the need was understood and accepted by local leadership, the plan quickly evolved from one local skatepark to a network of up to seven municipal skateparks.

Beginning in 2008, Oceanside has so far built three skateparks, geographically well distributed throughout the sprawling city. The latest is the celebrated Alex Road Skatepark, funded in part by a $25,000 grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation. “The Tony Hawk Foundation helped create validity for our projects,” said Oceanside Parks Development Manager Nathan Mertz. “Having the support of the Tony Hawk Foundation, the community perception was that we were not operating in a vacuum.”

“The skateparks are a great asset for the community. They’re something for people to be proud of, something that provides a consistent, dependable outlet for physical activity, and places to meet up with friends and meet new people.” —Nathan Mertz

Alex Road is a 22,000-square-foot wonderland, offering terrain to suit every skateboarding taste, and connected to the bustling downtown by an easily accessible bike path. Since its opening in early 2013, the only serious complaint is that the skatepark is too popular. Those who like to have more space to skate tend to arrive early because shortly after school lets out, the park is a bustling hive of activity.

While Alex Road and the city’s other skateparks may not have gotten every Oceanside skateboarder off the streets, they’re the city’s most popular recreational facilities, and represent a significant step in the right direction. “The skateparks are a great asset for the community,” said Mertz. “They’re something for people to be proud of, something that provides a consistent, dependable outlet for physical activity, and places to meet up with friends and meet new people.”

Oceanside addressed a serious issue in a serious way, and found a solution that will benefit residents, tourists, and the local business community for years to come.

 
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

282 ST and Waboose AVE | Ponsford, MN, 56575

282 ST and Waboose AVE
Ponsford, MN 56575
$6,000 (2017)
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