THE YEAR WAS 1999. THE NUMBER OF SKATEBOARD PARKS IN SAN DIEGO WAS ZERO.
An executive decision was made to create a task-force to deal with the issue of skateboarders and skateboarding in the City of San Diego. Officers of the “Peace” were paid double-time plus commission to work extra hours with the sole mission of ticketing and incarcerating skateboarders.
Enter the skateboarder, the skating in SD is still really good but the tickets are getting numerous and expensive. $100 – $300 per occurrence is an outrage, plus they might confiscate your board. What to do?…
1999: Construction begins with a few locals.
The crete dries and is sessioned heavily.
Once the city realizes a skateboard park is being built on their property without their permission they are incensed and immediately decide to tear it down. Bulldozers are moved in but the skaters are unyielding and will not stop skating. At the same time mass media is brought in to expose the story. The skaters create enough public support that the city will hear their story. But the park is surrounded with K-Rails to render the spot unskateable.
Bloodied but unbowed, the skaters regroup and attempt to make their park legit. Numerous city council meetings are attended, community leaders are brought in to speak on the issue, and finally the park is allowed to stay. However, the conditions are stringent and the work ahead will be arduous. They require; A non-profit organization to administer the park, land use permits, encroachment and removal permits, construction insurance, and most importantly the one and only Engineering Permit (a $2400 piece of documentation) that allows construction to begin. Ken Lewis grabs the reigns and with the help of Matt Miller begins the first steps of setting up a non-profit organization to administer the park. Lewis heads the fund-raising process to fund the park and gets the required blue-prints approved by Sr. Engineer Mohammed Sammak. After a long hard battle for legitimacy and funding, construction resumes in 2002. The result of a few shows, many generous sponsors (go to the sponsors page), a group of dedicated and hardworking volunteers, and a very patient City of San Diego, is the opportunity to witness the birth of the now top-rated skateboard park in Southern California. Winner of Thrasher Magazine’s T-Eddy awards for Best Park and the recipient of the San Diego Channel 10 News Leadership Award, the Washington Street Skateboard Park is already a legend in its infancy.