The construction of Bordertown skatepark first began in 2004 with a simple plan to make a ramp out of concrete in West Oakland, California. It was, as all other DIY parks start out, self-funded and engineered from the beginning by dedicated local skateboarders. Once the initial goal of completing the concrete ramp was achieved, many skateboarders recognized its potential and began to contribute to the cause to make the park bigger and better. Because there were no skateparks in Oakland, Bordertown quickly gained support from local skaters and residents alike in the Bay Area.
As the construction of this effort continued to progress, it became obvious that its presence had a number of positive effects which had not previously existed in the West Oakland neighborhood. It discouraged the various illegal activities by drug users, criminals and the homeless in the area which had up until the creation of the skatepark been regarded as one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the East Bay. Additionally, kids from different backgrounds and neighborhoods showed up to work side by side learning important vocational skills under the banner of a unifying cause. The project showed them the importance of respecting and appreciating something that they had worked for which had not just been handed to them. Productivity was at its peak with the park’s operation being smoothly delegated by local skateboarders, and every person who skated the park helped build it. The park’s construction continued to grow at a rapid pace with the enthusiastic support of local businesses and residents. Everyone who was helping was committed to making Bordertown a full-fledged skatepark built for and by skateboarders.
However, CalTrans shut down Bordertown Skatepark on August 3rd, 2005 and planned to demolish the park. Bordertown and its proprietors mobilized immediately to negotiate an agreeable situation with CalTrans and the City of Oakland. In the process, Bordertown Skatepark established itself as a non-profit organization, acquired the necessary insurance, drew park plans to scale and gained the political support of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown and City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente to legitimize the project as a positive asset to the East Bay.
Currently, the construction of Bordertown Skatepark is only halfway to the finish mark. We are learning through trial and error how to persevere through all of the various challenges to save the park. A number of local benefit shows and neighborhood clean ups were also organized to raise support. Any kind of help or suggestions for raising money to donate towards tools and materials are needed to ensure its completion. If you’re down for the cause and know of any way to raise funds or support to finish the park, let us know!
Bordertown Skatepark Oakland, California