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Generations Center: They did it right
Complex opens today ahead of Lathrop Days weekend celebration
The final touches are put on the Lathrop Generations Center on Thursday afternoon. The complex will officially open with todays ribbon-cutting ceremony. - photo by HIME ROMERO

LATHROP – Ethan Holt was kind of in a gray area. 

Technically, the skate park that he was shredding with half-a-dozen of his friends – and a dozen other people that he didn’t even know – wasn’t officially set to open until today at 1 p.m. 

But when you build a park that’s to the specifications of the X Games and Red Bull tours, you’re bound to attract a little bit of attention and skateboarders have been braving exposed rebar and the law to tackle fresh lines ever since the gunite walls first started taking shape. 

So here was Holt, on his bicycle that he had ridden from Manteca all the way to the other side of I-5, pulling tricks that had attracted a crowd.

It was the third time in the last week he had made the trip, and it’s one, he says, that he’ll make a lot more often now that there’s a place that got it right the first time – offering up the kind of experience that most skaters or riders would be hard-pressed to find in one designated spot. 

“It’s way better than Manteca – the concrete there is all cracked and you get flat tires and it’s just not very good,” said Holt. “They just didn’t do it right. They did it right here. This park has everything. I’d rather be here than down at Manteca any day of the week.”

Lathrop will officially cut the ribbon on The Generations Center – the complex that includes the skate park – today at 1 p.m. The skate park will formally open at that point, and the public will be invited out to the site’s inaugural open house will give the public the chance to browse the state-of-the-art confines when people gather to celebrate Lathrop’s independence on Sunday. 

The project is somewhat of a landmark for facilities and project supervisor Ken Reed who has overseen virtually every phase of construction and has had to come up with unique ways to keep the Holts of the world from hopping fences and raiding the bowls when they weren’t ready yet. 

Once the fence came down, he said, it became next to impossible to stop the hoard that soon followed, and even though they were technically crashing the party, he flashed a grin when he got the chance to see exactly how well received the park was by those who were actually using it. 

“A lot of times in this business you just build something and you move on,” he said. “But here you get to stop and see the smiles. That’s definitely a plus.”

Tyler Agnew, a Lathrop freestyle bike rider, said that by the time he heard that the park was open on Thursday – albeit a bit prematurely – he was the only person going to the old park across from the Lathrop Police Department. 

The wood design, he said, opened it up for problems – loose screws proved to be the perfect snag for bicycle tubes and excessive rain, when it did fall, created damage that could make some of the pieces downright unusable. 

 Not being able to go just down the street from his house, he said, is somewhat of a letdown. But from what he saw on Thursday, making the ride was more than worth it. 

“There weren’t a lot of people that rode down there, and now you know that they’re all going to be coming down here,” said Agnew – who started riding ramps at the age of 7. “But so far I think that I’m going to like this place. I think that I’m going to have a lot of fun here.”