EL CENTRO – A need for many Imperial Valley skaters finally came true as hundreds of locals gathered for hours around the perimeters of the new Sidewinder Skate Park on September 10, in El Centro, to celebrate the grand opening.
The skate park was also a long-fought victory for Anastasia Miki, president of the Desert Skate Park Coalition (DSPC) and Brett Driscoll, owner of Driscoll’s Surf and Skate Shop in El Centro and a member of the DSPC whose efforts resulted in obtaining the state grant for the development of the project.
“Every once in a while passion for a cause translates into reality. Eight long years of meetings and begging has brought us here today,” added Miki.
For decades, amateur skaters have used local cities’ cities’sidewalks, rails, empty lots and store parking lots to practice their favorite sport often resulting in a visit from law enforcement authorities issuing a warning and in some cases a citation.
“I have been skating for 14 years, practicing on streets and other public places. Having a park where we can freely ride our skateboards is better than being kicked out all of the time,” said Diego Najera, pro skater from El Centro.
“For many years I had dreamed of having a skate park and now it’s amazing to see the park a reality,” added Najera.
Professional and amateur skaters and bikers from Los Angeles and Imperial Countys amazed local teens and attendees as they initiated the park with spectacular tricks using all the trick features.
“My son, James, is 10 years old and loves to skate. I normally take him to the park where he practices his tricks. Now, with this park and being able to skate here, I am sure he will be a pro in no time,” said Carmen Morris, El Centro.
Johan Pacheco, 12, Holtville, rode the park for the first time like a pro. Johan was sponsored by Struggle Skateboards.
Professional skaters included Terrell Robinson from Los Angeles; Ruben Najera from El Centro; Jim Bates from Los Angeles; Al Garcia from Los Angeles; and Diego Najera from El Centro.
The Sidewinder Skate Park is equipped with shaded structures, lights, picnic tables and bathrooms.
The Sidewinder Skate Park is located on the corner of Adams Avenue and Sixth Street in El Centro. The $2.5 million project was constructed with state grant funding and is approximately 35,000 feet of skating surface.