Nearly four years ago when The E’ville Eye was in its infancy, we spotlighted the injustice of the demolition of “The Spot” DIY skatepark built by passionate local skateboarders under the MacArthur Maze. Shortly after its bulldozing by CalTrans, the spot resumed its previous life as an encampment and drug bazaar leading us to dub it “Camp CalTrans”.
While Emeryville could do little to thwart the spot’s demolition, Councilmember Nora Davis made good on her word by lobbying for the city to provide an Emeryville skate park for neighborhood skaters to call their own. Davis introduced the idea of creating a skate spot at Joseph Emery Park to council and it was met with unanimous support from then Councilmembers Atkin, West, Brinkman and Asher (If you want to create a “family-friendly” town, you have to create family-friendly resources like skate-parks and dog-parks!).
When Complete, The Joseph Emery Skate Spot will include features like this “Flow Bowl”.
Public Works Director Maurice Kaufmann embraced the project and led the workshops that engaged the local skateboarding community. Skatepark specialists Wormhoudt Inc. were called upon to solicit feedback and work within the confines of the space to create something unique. Wormhoudt has created notable parks locally, nationally and internationally. “The local skateboard community worked along with the design team and was instrumental in forming the ideas for the skate park” noted Councilmember Davis. When complete, the skate spot will include a flow bowl, quarter pipe, banks, a dragon back, volcanoes and other skate features.
The entire conceptual plan can be viewed above:
The linear park located right off of San Pablo Avenue represents some challenges as it’s been the target of homeless and the lack of toilet facilities have put a burden on neighboring businesses. A public toilet was mandatory but existing structures are expensive to build and expensive to maintain. The City Housing Committee recommended the “Portland Loo” style facility because of its low-cost and low-maintenance. The structures have gained quite a following because of their durability and provide privacy but discourage lingering and other unsavory activity.
After considerable planning and additional work on the storm drain and irrigation system, construction is finally underway at the Joseph Emery Linear Park. According to the city’s latest June progress report, the long anticipated Skate Spot is slated to be complete by Mid-September. “I anticipate that over the next couple weeks we will starting see forms being placed for the concrete skate structures.” noted Kaufmann through email.