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Skate Park Coming to Oak Cliff

City

A skateboarder soars through the air | Image by Zachary DeBottis/Pexels

In Dallas, you don’t have to go far to find an interesting restaurant or fun attraction. But skateboarders are hard-pressed to find good skate parks in the city.

Skateboarders living in the Dallas area often have to drive 30-40 minutes away to find a good skate park, such as Alliance Skate Park in Grand Prairie. Teenagers usually visit local parking lots or street spots to get their skating sessions in. Several Oak Cliff teenagers told The Dallas Morning News of their experiences.

“We’ve always had to travel to other parts of the city,” said 14-year-old Aaron Vargas. “Those other skate parks are far like Arlington, or Fort Worth, Irving, or Frisco. I like their parks but they’re really far from where I live.”

“Having a skate park here in Oak Cliff would make everything easier,” Vargas said. “I’d probably be able to skateboard more.”

“If we can secure the skate park, it would be the largest investment in Westmoreland Park since it was built. My understanding from city staff is that Oak Cliff will have much more of a shot of being selected for the next skate park if we can raise private funds to match city funds dedicated for the skate park, and I want to do my part to bring this to the community,” West said in a press release.

The city and supporting organizations are working on raising the necessary funds for the project. The Dallas Parks and Recreation Department has said it will match the $400,000 currently being raised.

Councilman West and District 1 Parks and Recreation Board member J.R. Huerta have organized community meetings in Oak Cliff to determine what the community members would like to see at the park, specifically those who will be the ones to use it.

“I’m not a skater,” Huerta said. “I don’t know anything about skaters, but I am a sports guy. No matter what we do if we get our kids involved in something extra, it’s going to make them better. Whether it’s skateboarding, basketball, baseball, piano – whatever it is.”

Currently, there is one operational skate park in Dallas, located at Lakeland Hills. There is another park being constructed at Bachman Lake.

Dallas will need 15 skate parks to meet the demands of its population, according to the Dallas Parks Department.

A priority in planning, said Huerta, has been proximity to public transportation and walking trails, thus allowing accessibility for a larger population.

“There should always be access to it,” Huerta said. “Not everybody’s going to be able to drive to the park and take advantage of it. Then let’s put it next to public transit.”

Anthony Vargas typically accompanies his son, Aaron, and his son’s friends to skate parks in the northern suburbs. The Vargas family is eager for a new park.

“I tell everybody, the youth of Oak Cliff deserve the same benefits that the youth of Frisco, Plano and anybody north of Dallas is getting,” Anthony Vargas said. “It will help these kids if they had a place where they can go skate and not get kicked out.”

The North Oak Cliff skate park is currently seeking private and corporate sponsors. To kick things off, Councilman West raised nearly $6,000 for the new skate park with a Facebook fundraising page and his matching donation.

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