Professional skateboarding icons are teaming up with local community leaders to announce the grand opening Thursday of a skate park at Hazard Park in Boyle Heights.
Construction of the the 10,000 square foot Diamond Supply Co. Public Skate Plaza, located at 2298 Norfolk St, was initiated through the efforts of the Rob Dyrdek Street League Skateboarding Foundation.
Paul Vizcaino, a spokesman for the foundation, said the organization was established to build safe and legal skate facilities for kids to practice on.
Even though skateboarding is one of the most popular sports for teens, it is still illegal and viewed negatively in many places, Vizcaino said.
"There’s a vast gap between, for example, the tennis courts that are available and the skate parks that are available," Vizcaino said. "We want to bridge that gap."
Dyrdek, known for his roles in reality shows on MTV, collaborated with fellow pro skateboarder and entrepreneur Nick Diamond and The California Endowment, a group that advocates for health equality, to fund construction of the skateboarding facility.
Scheduled to be in attendance at the grand opening ceremony is Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar, whose district includes Boyle Heights.
Rick Coca, a spokesman for the councilman, said a Boyle Heights skate park built in 2009 by the foundation has proved to be a success with skaters.
"We think this skate park will do the same," Coca said. "Its location means it will also draw people in from the surrounding communities."
The $320,000 facility was privately funded by Dyrdek, Diamond and The Endowment. The first half of the money was put up by Dyrdek's foundation through a grant from The Endowment and the second half was donated by Diamond.
Diamond Supply Co. Public Skate Plaza is part of The Endowment's 10-year Building Healthy Communities initiative.
Launched in 2010, The Endowment’s plan targets 14 communities in the state, including Boyle Park, for improvements in public health.
Paul Vizcaino said the Hazard Park location was the first of four planned facilities to be built as part of the initiative, but the ultimate goal would be to have a skate facility in all 14 communities.
The foundation is connected to Street League Skateboarding, a professional skateboarding league founded by Dyrdek in 2010 which allows competitors to compete in the street style of skateboarding.
Paul said the majority of skate boarders are street skaters, so the new Boyle Heights park has similar features to what would be seen on the street as well as the professional league.
The park is replete with stairs, ramps and rails, familiar territory for those learning how to ride outside the halfpipe.
"They get to skate on the same features they watched their heroes throw down on," Vizcaino said. "We want to build the next street league star."