Idea of local youth brings skate park to the Crescenta Valley.
By Charly SHELTON
Six years ago, a group of teenagers wanted a better place to skateboard. But rather than sitting back and wishing, they made it a reality. And Monday, the process culminated with the grand opening and dedication of the Crescenta Valley Skate Park.
“It still feels unreal, I can’t believe it has finally happened,” said Cooper Ivens, the student who initiated the idea of the skate park.
He and a group of friends, including Corbin Southworth and Austin Seo, got together at The Fire House youth center on Tuesday nights and would skateboard in the parking lot. They complained about not having a good place in the Crescenta Valley to skateboard without trespassing or making business owners feel uneasy as a group of skaters hung around. The teens brought their concerns to Mary O’Keefe, one of the founders and lead mentor at The Firehouse. She told them to do something about it by contacting their representatives in local government.
They took the proposal to the Crescenta Valley Town Council, which unanimously backed the idea and moved it along to L.A. County Fifth District Supervisor Michael Antonovich. Antonovich put the proposal in place, prepared a budget and got the wheels moving toward transforming this suggestion from a group of skaters into a new community space at Crescenta Valley Park.
“Remembering back to six years ago or so when this first started, it was just kind of an idea thrown out there that we took and ran with and with help from Mary introducing us to the right people to pushing through the miles of red tape, here we are,” Ivens said, addressing the crowd at the dedication ceremony. “And now I just want to thank everyone for coming out and showing your support to this because I’m sure this will have a huge impact on kids in this community not just now but for as long as the skate park is here.”
Ivens has since moved on from the Crescenta Valley, majoring in global studies at University of California, Santa Barbara. He came back to his home in La Crescenta for the dedication and was surrounded by everyone who helped with the park, including Rosemont principal Dr. Cynthia Livingston, Crescenta Valley High School principal Dr. Linda Junge, CV Chamber President Calvin “Kaipo” Chock, Crescenta Valley Town Councilmember Harry Leon, CV Chamber board member Steve Pierce, Crescenta Valley Park supervisor Abel Garnica and dozens of other community members, as well as a handful of very excited children, teens and adults wanting to try out the new skate park.
Antonovich was beaming at the dedication ceremony, pleased to see this idea become a reality in the way it was initially envisioned.
“I’m very pleased that we’re able to put an idea that a student had into actuality,” Antonovich said. “Now we have a park and it’s an encouragement to other people who have ideas to communicate with their elected officials and their community groups because from that we can improve our communities, not just in La Crescenta but throughout the state and the nation.”
He was also very complimentary of Ivens and of all the students involved in getting the skate park going. The three students who championed this cause, Ivens, Southworth and Seo, each received official proclamations from the supervisor’s office denoting their achievements in making the skate park come to fruition. In his address to the assembled crowd, he spoke to Ivens and made plain the wider scope of the benefits this skate park will have.
“This is your idea and your classmates’ and you’re seeing what you’re doing not just for yourself and your friends but you have the elementary schools, the middle school, the high school, the neighboring schools that are involved in this great community,” Antonovich said. “They’re going to be utilizing [this skate park] because you took the time to submit a letter and submit an idea.”
Southworth was less reflective on the past and more just excited for the park.
“I honestly don’t have too much to say,” Southworth said. “I’m just excited to get to skate it.”