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Lathrop one upping Ripon when it comes to skate parks
LATHROP--Skate Park 2
Lathrop Youth Advisory Commission Chair Gurpreet Atwal and Vice-Chair Kultar Ram take a closer look at the bricks that can be purchased to help fund the outfitting of the new teen center. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL The Bulletin

LATHROP – When the City of Ripon first opened the Curt Pernice Skate Park almost a decade ago it became a haven for Northern California skateboarders.

The walls were steep. The lines were smooth. And Thrasher Magazine – the once-underground publication that is often referred to as the “Bible” of the sport – gave the park the highest rating possible and started a mass migration of Bay Area skaters looking for something different.

But for all of the perks that Ripon park has to offer, it won’t be able to hold a candle to the multi-faceted skate Mecca now under construction in Lathrop.

For one, Lathrop’s park will boast things like rails and stairs – a street skating course – that are absent from many community skate parks, Ripon’s and Manteca’s included. The metal coping in the competition-grade bowl on the eastern edge of the park actually slopes in a “U” shape in two separate sections, and a spine transfer between the other bowl and the “lazy river” section being built specifically for wheelchair-bound riders will add another dimension.

And construction is moving right along. Lathrop’s project manager Ken Reed believes that the work on the skate park section of the Generations Center project will be completed by the end of November.

While both Manteca and Ripon specifically prohibit bicycles in the rules that are posted outside of their respective parks, Lathrop plans to allow them in some capacity – whether it’s during special competition events or at large remains to be seen.

Ownership will also fall squarely on the shoulders of those who will use it. Through a series of public meetings that targeted the youth in the community, the designer of Lathrop’s skate park asked for input and desired features and provided modeling clay that allowed the youth to actually craft what they’d like to see. That input was incorporated into the overall design.

That opportunity, coupled with the additional work being done to create a teen center and other amenities at the site, will give local teens something fun and unique to do.

“It’ll be a place to go in Lathrop,” said Youth Advisory Commission Chair Gurpreet Atwal. “There’s this complaint that there isn’t anything to do, and this project will provide a skate park and gaming and a parkour park and a teen center – essentially limitless possibilities.

“The project as a whole is a great thing for the youth of the community. I think that the youth, once they learn about what this will provide, will be really excited.”