Dyrdek unveils latest skate park

By Bernie Wilson
AP Sports Writer / December 17, 2009

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Rob Dyrdek and the city of Los Angeles are 2-for-2 in giving skateboarders a place where they can ride challenging obstacles without getting chased away by the police.

Dyrdek, the pro skateboarder and MTV star, unveiled a $350,000 skate park Thursday that is the latest in his Safe Spot, Skate Spot program.

Dyrdek contributed $75,000 from his foundation and Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar came up with the rest of the funding for the 14,000-square-foot, tri-level skate plaza at Hollenbeck Park just east of downtown.

Tired of seeing street skateboarders treated as nuisances, the Midwestern-born Dyrdek started the Safe Spot, Skate Spot program to give them a legal place to ride handrails, ledges and stairs.

His first skate park, in Lafayette Park, was dedicated in February, when he and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa rode the world's largest skateboard, measuring 38 feet, 6 inches.

"They've bought into what I'm trying to do," Dyrdek said by phone. "I think conceptually, when you say, 'Hey, it's not that expensive. If you give me a little piece of it, I'll make a really cool, unique, skateable surface that enhances the park and looks gorgeous.' And even for all that, if skateboarding dies tomorrow, they still have this great plaza, and they can turn it into something else.

"They've really stepped up and given me basically a shot at every park in the city, and I've just been going out trying to raise money and make it happen."

Dyrdek said the $75,000 he contributed came from a $100,000 donation to his foundation from pro skateboarder Ryan Sheckler's golf tournament.

Dyrdek has plans for three more skate parks in the L.A. area.

"More than anything, it solves a lot of issues," he said. "No. 1, it's building a legal place for kids to skate that duplicates a real street, not emulates it. It's the idea of not putting just a fence around a bunch of bowls. It's designing and developing a really beautiful plaza that happens to be perfectly built for skateboarding. It's a necessity to the future of the sport that kids have a place to do it."

The centerpiece of his new park is a nine-stair handrail.

Dyrdek, the star of "Rob & Big" and now the "Fantasy Factory" on MTV, made the movie "Street Dreams" earlier this year to show the mainstream what street skateboarders are all about.

His parks are built by Joe Ciaglia of California Skateparks and California Ramp Works. Ciaglia built the street course and half pipe for the first two editions of the Maloof Money Cup, the richest competition in skateboarding.