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Fullerton skatepark to reopen

5/30/2012
Removing graffiti in the public skatepark in Fullerton, Calif. Fullerton Skateboard Association

If all goes as planned, the days of drug dealing, public urination, and alleyway prostitution that once plagued the public skatepark in Fullerton, Calif., are now over. On Saturday, June 16, skateboarding will return full force as city officials team up with the community to reopen the roughly 13,000-square-foot concrete facility, located in Independence Park on West Valencia Dr. The park has been shut down for more than two years.

Earlier this year, local skateboarders launched the Fullerton Skateboard Association (FSA), lobbying city shot-callers to take down the chain-link fence that has surrounded the skatepark since March 2010. That's when local police officers wrapped up an undercover investigation at the park, exposing numerous illicit activities and ending with five felony arrests. The skatepark has been closed ever since.

"It was a few [bad apples] who had taken control of the park," Aaron Orozco, Fullerton's recreation manager, told ESPN.com. "The police said that these guys ran the park like a prison yard."

"Now we have this very big, community driven effort to reopen the park," he added.

FSA spokesman Isaac Davis, 38, told ESPN.com that the volunteer group's focus has been to put the 12-year-old skatepark "back into the hands of the community."

To that end, he added, the FSA formed an ad hoc committee with the city and drew up a proposal to have adult volunteers monitor the park, remove graffiti, and generally maintain the spot on a daily basis. For its part, the city has committed $50,000, most of which is slated for permanent fencing to prevent people from entering or exiting the skatepark across the railroad tracks or through the alley nearby.

In April, the FSA's proposal got a unanimous thumbs-up from the city's Parks and Recreation Commission. Earlier this month, the City Council followed suit, approving the reopening with a three-month probationary period.

The June 16 ribbon cutting will feature raffles, music, and food trucks.