Watch CBS News

Iconic Channel Street Skatepark to reopen Sunday after closing in 2014

After it was forcibly shut down in 2014 by expansion to the 110 Freeway, the popular San Pedro Channel Street Skatepark is set to reopen nearly 10 years later. 

Councilman Joe Buscaino

The skatepark, located at 600-620 W. Channel St., was built by a group of skateboarders in the early 2000s, though was never permitted for operation. Regardless, the park became a well-known destination amongst the skateboarding community, often being featured in skating videos of renowned professional skaters and locals alike.

When Caltrans decided to expand the 110 Freeway in 2014, it cut through the boundaries of the skatepark, putting an end to more than a decade of skating at the location in San Pedro. 

"The skaters have saved a skating Mecca," said Councilman Joe Buscaino, who announced the reopening of the park via Facebook on Friday.

He said that the only way the skatepark would be reopened was if it were able to become "a legally permitted structure which necessitated blueprints, meeting building and safety requirements, and more."

The community never let the dream of skating at Channel Street die, evidenced by the joint effort between community leaders, local skaters and neighbors in the surrounding area — all of whom helped to renovate and work towards reopening the skatepark. Buscaino noted that local architects provided blueprints pro bono, while the skating community went to work rebuilding the park one day at a time. 

"I have always been acutely aware of the inherent value the entire community had for Channel Street and my office started to explore paths to reopening the park and getting it legalized," Buscaino said. 

In 2021, the San Pedro Skatepark Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to bringing Channel Street back to San Pedro was able to acquire the property, signing a 20-year lease. 

"Legalizing the skate park was difficult and frustrating because the land was owned by multiple entities including The Port of LA and the Port of Long Beach," Buscaino noted. "CalTrans controlled the freeway above which the park is built around below, and there is a rail road right of way that goes through the park."

Contributors pulled out all of the stops, adding each necessary additions to their renovations including storage, drainage, fencing, insurance and all permits required to open legally. 

The park is slated to officially reopen on Sunday at noon in what Buscaino said would be a "historic day in San Pedro." The ceremony's will continue at 12:15 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting, followed by a skateboard giveaway and finally an exhibition of the park by local skaters at 2 p.m. 

"Skaters have often in movies and popular culture been depicted as slackers. But these skaters who originally built, and now saved Channel Street, are some of the best people in our society. They should be the envy of every neighborhood group hoping to accomplish something for the greater good of community," he said.

April Jones, a local documentarian and filmmaker, was on hand for the entire process, and plans to release a full-length documentary to the public at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin in March 2023.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.