LATHROP – In the opening scene of Casino Royale, James Bond leaps from beam to beam, climbs wires and runs up cranes.
He jumps onto rooftops, slides onto and off of an elevator and runs straight through a wall.
Now, you aren’t going to find anybody doing any high-flying stunts like that when the parkour – also known as free running – course opens up at the Lathrop Generations Center next spring. But you will find kids that know how to flip and roll and execute all of the basic moves that have made the French sport a rising trend among American youth.
It’s just another one of the elements that will make the currently under-construction facility near Lathrop High School one of, if not the, most popular places in the South County for teenagers to enjoy once it opens.
And it could very well be a trailblazing endeavor.
While private parkour parks are available for some die-hard practitioners, those who have shaped Lathrop’s newest project believe that they’re entering uncharted waters with what might very well be the nation’s first public course.
The parkour park will be only a sliver of the larger Lathrop Generations Center project that is being almost entirely funded by a $5 million grant that the city secured. Roughly $1.2 million in local funding will be used to offset the costs not covered by the grant.
Other aspects of the project include:
•An amphitheater that will be wired for sound and will provide the opportunity for outdoor performances, concerts and movies.
•A space for the Lathrop branch of the Stockton-San Joaquin Public Library. The library portion of the building will include a pair of quiet study rooms and a shared computer lab and will take advantage of the building’s usage of available outdoor light.
•A community garden that will initially be used for demonstrations. Plans are in the works to create a partnership with the UC Davis horticulture department to provide residents with gardening and growing tips in an educational hands-on setting.
•A teen center complete with couches, a computer gaming center and televisions for the youth of the community. The Youth Advisory Commission has taken a proactive role in securing some of the programming that will be included once the building formally opens in June of 2014.
But for all that the project does include, it doesn’t cover the costs associated with outfitting the space that the teens will occupy or the entertainment perks that they’ll need.
Pavers that have been laid out in front of the building – in a variety of sizes – are being sold by the YAC as a way to raise the money needed on its own to cover those costs.
Information about costs and how to go about purchasing a brick can be found at lgc.engravedbricks.com.