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Friday, May 18, 2012
Updated: May 21, 6:16 PM ET
Rebuilding Bordertown

By Keith Hamm

California's Bordertown will be re-built with help from the Tony Hawk Foundation.

The planned resurrection of a popular renegade skatepark in Northern California received a financial shot in the arm recently as the Tony Hawk Foundation kicked in $5,000 toward the rebuild of Bordertown.

In late November, the 10,000-square-foot concrete park, tucked away beneath a freeway overpass near the border of West Oakland and Emeryville, was razed by property owner Caltrans. At the time, officials with the state's transportation authority cited liability issues with the illicitly built facility, which had grown in size and popularity since its DIY birth seven years earlier. But officials also said they would allow the construction of a new park in its place, so long as it was built by the books and with the community's support.

To that end, Bordertown local Lauren Stocker has been applying for grants and knocking on the doors of local politicians to drum up financial and political backing.

"I applied for the [Tony Hawk Foundation] grant right after Bordertown was [demolished] last year," Stocker, 24, told "Then in March, I got the call. We really lucked out. They were really gracious."

This isn't the first time Hawk's foundation -- which has been helping build skateparks in low-income communities for 10 years -- has backed Bordertown. Back in 2007, it donated $5,000, according to Executive Director Miki Vuckovich, adding that it's rare for the foundation to offer a grant to the same project twice.

"We consider this a supplemental grant on top of what we gave previously, " Vuckovich said. "[Helping them] has a lot to do with their tenacity. Despite having their work destroyed, they're keeping at it. We supported phase one and looking at where they're heading with the new park, it's looking like it's going to be a landmark skatepark for the region. We're going to be working with them along the way."

Stocker estimates that the new park could cost somewhere between $150,000 and $300,000, and that she has an engineer and building contractor on board to break ground as soon as the city officials sign off on the blueprints. Naturally, it's all about the money.

"Nobody has told us no," Stocker says. "[City officials] are basically saying just get the money together and we'll go from there."

In the meantime, Stocker said she's waiting to hear back from two more grants she's applied for, looking into a Kickstarter campaign, and asking for sympathetic politicians to publicly support the rebirth of Bordertown.