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Without any announcement or fanfare, the City of Encinitas, on December 31, took down all the security fencing surrounding its new, multiuse, 44-acre park.

While under construction for over a year, once the skate park’s cement was dry, it was difficult to keep skaters away. Sheriff’s deputies and on-site security usually turned a blind eye to the few skaters who snuck in through the construction fences, “as long as they were respectful,” said one deputy. Skate legend Tony Hawk reportedly showed up several times to try out the new concrete.

Around two months ago, the entire 44-acre park was completely sealed off with security fencing to allow for completion of the final touches to the sports fields, dog park, tot lot, skate park, restroom facilities, and large amounts of open space. The posted “No Trespassing” signs were strictly enforced.

News of the opened skate park spread quickly. The ramps, bowls, rails, and street designs were packed on January 2 with over 100 skaters and their families.

Skater dad Chris brought his three boys over from Poway to give it a try. Joey, age 9, Jason, 8, and Jimmy, 6, suited up with helmets and pads, said they couldn’t wait to try out the new bowl. “My dad’s 43,” said Jimmy proudly.

Several teenaged skaters, including 13-year-old Riley from Encinitas and 12-year-old Aiden from Carlsbad, thought the new park was better than North County’s crown jewel skate park at Carlsbad’s Alga Norte Community Park. “But it’s really crowded here today,” Aiden said. He reported that Alga was down to only about ten skaters last night. “Everyone’s here,” he said. Riley thought the best part of the park was the six-stair (where one jumps over six stair steps).

Mom Britta from Cardiff by the Sea said this was a 20-year dream come true. She said when she was a teenager, she was part of a Oak Crest Middle School skate crew who used to get kicked out of all the business areas because there was no other place to skate. “Now our kids get to live this dream we had,” she said while watching her four-year-old and eight-year-old try to negotiate drop-ins on one of the smaller ramps.

While most skate parks develop a reputation for attracting a specific type group — little kids, teenagers, stoners, semi-pros, etc., Britta pointed out all the multi-aged skaters and families. “Look at the guys in the bowl right now. They’re all in their 30s and 40s,” she said (as I reluctantly had to remind myself not to try it out).

Several pro skaters and skateboard companies are expected to be on hand for the city’s official ceremonial opening on Saturday, January 10.

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