The Millbrae skate park, closed for much of last year and largely ignored by skaters, has pulled a 180 and reopened under new management last weekend with free rides and longer hours.
The city took over the YMCA’s 25-year lease in September and spent the last month sprucing it up. The site will allow boarders to ollie and nosegrind free of charge for the first time, and will be open seven days per week until dusk.
YMCA charged $5 per skater and typically only opened the parkon weekends from noon to 5 p.m. for the past year; as a result, attendance was poor, said Recreation Superintendent Mike Wride. During its first weekend, Wride said he saw about 50 kids at once at the new park.
The site is now called MY Skate Park, as in Millbrae/YMCA Skate Park, but the name is also meant to signify control by the skaters, Wride said.
The city will clean a little and open the park each morning, and police will lock it up each night. In between, skaters roam unsupervised.
“The park belongs to the kids, and they need to take care of it and respect it and police it,” he said.
There are no new park features; rather, crews spent the month repairing old wood frames and skate panels during the closure, he said. The city also installed steel frame restroom doors to combat past vandalism problems stemming from children kicking in bathroom entrances.
Millbrae resident Andrew Trapani, 53, cannot wait to go and “carve” with his 18- and 13-year-old sons. He was on the committee that helped get the skate park built behind Mills High School in 2002, but said kids were not attending the park because of its worn down facilities, cost and lack of open hours.
“Now that the city is taking it over I think it will be a lot better off,” Trapani said.