OAKLAND -- The beloved skateboard ramp in Montclair Park is wearing out.

It's on the verge of falling into disrepair, and the Montclair Recreation Center is examining its options, including the possibility of tearing the ramp down.

Mark Zinns, the Montclair Recreation Center's director, said the ramp will either get repairs beyond the scope of the routine maintenance that his staff can provide or will be dismantled in the near-future.

The wooden ramp was constructed in 2008 by an employee of the center, Dan Worley, with the help of his father.

The ramp, a modular design, was originally meant to be a portable, temporary structure. The goal was to bring skateboarding to Oakland's various communities, Zinns said. So, the ramp was taken to a variety of festivals and recreation centers throughout the city.

It took two to three hours to set up and an hour to tear down the ramp, and each piece weighs between 300 and 400 pounds. But each successive move compromised the ramp's structural integrity.

The ramp made its way back to Montclair Park in 2010, which was to be the ramp's final stop before its demise.

However, it proved to be such a popular addition to the park that it has remained for four years with occasional repairs and maintenance.

The center is considering looking into making more substantial repairs to the ramp or replacing it with a more permanent structure.

Both options would require community input and support.


Advertisement

"The ramp gets a lot of use. It's an asset to the community," Zinns said. "Everyone from beginners to adults use the ramp, and even some professionals. It's a really neat thing. The more advanced skaters help the beginning skaters."

"It's nice to have the ramp in the park," said Tina Popenuck, a member of the center's advisory council.

"The ramp has been a good draw for the kids in the community. It gives the kids something to do besides hanging out.

"We want the public to know what is happening, so that they won't come to the park one day and find it gone."

"I don't want them to tear it down," said Mikell Woods, a sixth-grader at Montera Middle School.

"We don't have many places to go other than skateboarding on the ramp. It's a bit messed up, but nobody ever gets hurt."

"There's no real skateboard park around the hills," said Justin Petty, a seventh-grader at Montera Middle School.

The Oakland Parks and Recreation Center has two skateboard parks, one in West Oakland's de Fremery Park and Rainbow Park in East Oakland.

Building a more permanent structure would require community input and city approval before seeking funding for the project.

Nico Trejo, 25, of Oakland, meets his friend Tess Dalke, 22, of Walnut Creek, at the ramp. Trejo has been skating 12 years, while Dalke has only been skating for 18 months.

"This spot connects us," Trejo said.

"It's in a beautiful spot, surrounded by nature and trees. The ramp alone is fun. It's good for kids to further their (skating) abilities. It would be heartbreaking to see it dismantled."

---