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Vans building huge skate park in Surf City -- for free

December 13, 2012 | 11:52 am

A skateboarder soars high in the air. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

For years, Huntington Beach officials have fought to be the one, the only, the official “Surf City,” but now there’s another kind of board trying to strengthen its foothold in the beach town.

Miles from the waves that have become legendary with surfers, Vans is breaking ground Thursday on its 32,000-square-foot “Off The Wall” Skatepark, a public-private undertaking that city officials hope will cement Huntington Beach’s reputation as a place where boarders of all types are welcome.

VF Outdoor Inc., a subsidiary of Vans parent VF Corp., is leasing a three-acre lot at the intersection of Gothard Street and Center Avenue for $1 a year, and in return will build and maintain the estimated $2.5-million facility. The deal is good for 20 years, and has two 10-year renewal options.

The skating venue will also host professional and amateur skating and BMX events, according to Steve Van Doren, son of Vans co-founder Paul Van Doren and a life-long Vans employee. The facility will be built by California Skateparks.

"Vans has always been in Huntington Beach and they always called it Surf City USA," Van Doren said. "We were always friends with the city and we thought if any place should have a skate park, it's Huntington Beach."

The complex will include a 15,000-square-foot skating bowl area and a 12,000-square-foot skate plaza, with rails and other small obstacles to mimic a street environment. Construction should be complete in six months.

City Councilman Joe Carchio said the city has been under pressure to provide a skate park since it closed a facility on Main Street several years ago.

Carchio said he’s excited about partnering with Vans to provide a facility that will be free to the public. He has only one lingering concern.

"I wish I could skateboard," Carchio joked.

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-- Andrew Shortall, TCN

Photo: A skateboarder soars high in the air. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

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