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Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Calif. skateparks hike up the price

By Robin Fleming

Beginning Oct. 1, local skaters will have to pay a fee to use the Vedugo Skate Park in Glendale, Calif. Previously only non-residents had to pay a fee, either $2 per day or $15 for a monthly pass. However with the city's budget stretched, the park was almost forced to close. The new fees will allow the park to stay open on both weekdays and weekends.

Opened in 2004, Verdugo Skate Park ranks among the top skateparks in Southern California, boasting 15,000 square feet of skate-able concrete. Designed with both professionals and beginners in mind, the park includes a snake run, a right hand kidney with pool coping, a street plaza with handrails and ledges and a bowl with an 11-foot over vert section.

Numerous skateparks in Southern California, and most in Northern California, are unstaffed and fenced in primarily to stop pedestrians from walking into the bowl. However, the skaters at Verdugo were the biggest supporters of keeping the park fully staffed.

Gabrielle Goglia of the Community Services and Parks Department of the City of Glendale explains, "The input that we received from the participants, both youth and adult, was that they feel that our park is one of the best around and having it unstaffed might lead to damage. It might lead to participants that aren't obeying the rules, and possibly dangerous situations for the children that like to skate there on a regular basis."

The skaters who use the facility were quick to come to its rescue when they were offered a few options. Goglia continues, "We surveyed everybody who came through the door in the month of July and we gave them three different options that we felt were potential ways to keep the park open; one of them being unstaffed, one of them being staffed with a fee and one of them being staffed with volunteers only. 72% of the people really felt that they would rather pay a fee and have our staff stay onsite."

For the locals, who previously had to get on a freeway to get to a decent skatepark the nominal fee is worth having access to such a great park in their own back yard. Glendale residents will be charged $3 for kids and $4 for adults and the new annual passes for residents will cost $50 for kids and $75 for adults. Non-residents monthly passes will increase from $25 to $40.

With roughly 12,000 visitors per year, the park will still be operating at a loss even with the fees in place. However for the locals and people who travel far and wide to come session Verdugo Skate Park they'll be happy to pay the fee and glad not to have lost the opportunity to enjoy skating the park.