Skateboarder Khizhar Gejn flies through the air at the new skate park at Rancho Cienega park.
Photo by Jason Lewis
Skateboarders no longer have to travel to the Westside to skate.
By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor
Cruise by Rancho Cienega park and you’ll see a sight that you probably haven’t seen before. It’s not a football or baseball team practicing. Not basketball or tennis players. But skateboarders flying all over the place at a recently opened skate park.
The 15,000 square foot skate park means that a lot of skaters in the black community do not have to travel long distances to participate in the sport that they have grown to love.
“It’s closer to my house,” Khizhar Gejn said. “I don’t have to go too far, just come right down the street,”
Gejn normally takes the bus or rides his bike all the way out to Culver City, or to the beach, but now he can perfect all of his tricks in his own neighborhood. He recognizes a lot of skaters that he has seen skating in Culver City.
Gejn aspires to be a professional skater, and having a park close to home will give him more time to work on his craft.
The project is a public-private partnership between the Rob Dyrdek Foundation, which is providing funding along with the City of Los Angeles, which has designated funds from Proposition K, Proposition 40, and the federal Community Development Block Grant program.
“Our kids love skateboarding,” Councilman Herb Wesson said. “Unfortunately, there are so few places where they can safely skateboard.”
This is the second Skate Plaza designed and opened by Rob Dyrdek in Councilmember Wesson’s district, the first being the Lafayette Park Skate Plaza. It was at the opening of that Skate Plaza that Wesson and Dyrdek agreed to work together to bring this new facility to Rancho Cienega. Wesson and Dyrdek have plans to continue building other Skate Plaza locations in the 10th Council District.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to have Rob Dyrdek as a partner in this project, and I’m looking forward to working with him on other projects,” Wesson said. “You know from his TV show that he is a hilarious entertainer. But when he is working to build safe places for our kids to play, he’s all business. Our partnership is going to deliver great things for our community.”
Planet Maple, a black owned skateboard and surf shop, supported the efforts of Councilman Wesson and Dyrdek.
“Kids are leaving my shop right now to go over there,” said William Lee Lamar, co-owner of Planet Maple. “That’s strong in the black community. We have our own park. We don’t have to go all the way to the Westside, or Culver City, or to the beach. That’s really important to the kids in this community.”
Lamar is raising money so that Planet Maple can give away 3,000 skateboards to the kids in the community so that they can take advantage of the skate park.