By Mary O’KEEFE
And so it begins – The construction for the Crescenta Valley Skate and Scooter Park has begun.
“The contractors moved in on Monday,” said Frank Gonzales, deputy director, East Community Services Agency of the Dept. of Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation.
It has been about three years since skaters Cooper Iven, Austin Seo and Corbin Southworth approached the L.A. County Parks and Recreation Dept. with the idea for the park.
“If it wasn’t for these kids, we wouldn’t be here,” Gonzales said in 2013 at the beginning of community workshops regarding the skatepark.
In 2012, Iven, Seo and Southworth were all part of the Fire House youth center where skaters would create a makeshift skatepark in the parking lot every Tuesday. (That tradition continues today.)
The then-teenagers felt skaters were getting a bad reputation in part because they were skating in parking lots and on church grounds. They wanted a skatepark of their own in Crescenta Valley that would offer kids a place to skate on equipment they wanted.
Instead of bowls the skaters wanted street-type skating with stairs and rails.
Iven went to community meetings requesting support from local leaders, and he got it. The L.A. County Parks and Recreation Dept. was always supportive as they worked with the kids on location and design.
Iven and skaters went to skateparks throughout L.A. and Ventura County, took photos and created the dream skatepark. They worked directly with the parks and rec designers Withers & Sandgren Landscape Architecture as the prime landscape architect with Charles H. Strawter Design as custom skatepark design specialists.
Parks and rec held community meetings and workshops. The skaters were at the meetings to answer questions and show support. Soon kids with scooters attended meetings and it was obvious that this was a group that wanted and needed a skatepark as well. Iven, Seo and Southworth broadened the scope of the design to include the scooters.
Although the three original skaters have graduated from high school, they still keep a close eye on the progress of the park, anxiously awaiting the beginning of construction.
“The targeted completion date is mid-May 2016, depending on the weather,” Gonzales said.
With El Niño looming, construction delays may be a possibility that contractor ARC Construction, Inc. will have to contend with.
“The formal dedication ceremony will be held sometime in June,  unless there is a delay in construction,” Gonzales said.