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[whitespace] Wheel-Behaved Children

Campbell-Just like the bumperstickers say, skateboarding is not a crime--but San Jose skaters wouldn't know it by their city council's refusal to offer an alternative to skating downtown illegally.

Campbell, on the other hand, is proving a model civic parent to the baggies-and-ollies generation. In fact, the temporary skating facility at the Community Center that the city opened in July is a hit--not just with Campbell skaters, but with skate rats from San Jose, Los Gatos, Monte Sereno and every other place where guys and gals are forced into furtive behavior to pursue the sport they love.

Last week, John Araujo, recreational supervisor for Campbell, was busy writing a recommendation to the council to keep the facility open at least until springtime, when the Community Center's parking lot gets cosmetic surgery. He says that in its first eight weeks, the fenced-in, supervised facility--the modified remains of three tennis courts--drew 600 kids, who made 1,700 visits. Campbell skaters tallied 684 of those visits; San Jose emigrés accounted for 617.

Both skateboarders and in-line skaters are welcome at the free paved park. And, in spite of any potential conflict that mix might have engendered, peace has reigned throughout the land.

"We had very minor problems," Araujo says. "We had a little graffiti around the area, but we've cleared it up as soon as we've seen it. And it's surprisingly quiet. The skaters are really respectful of each other in terms of space, and sometimes the older ones will take the younger kids under their wing."

Araujo expects no problems getting the council to approve the facility's extended stay. The five-member council has shown a willingness to invest in the project, having already spent $20,000 on equipment (including ramp, rails and launch boxes) and tentatively allocating another $15,000 to the skate facility fund, pending the sale of the Winchester Drive-In property.

The intention, Araujo says, has always been to find a permanent location for a skate park. But he doesn't expect any action on that front for another year or so. In the meantime, those vicious little menaces-to-society continue to prove their elders wrong by playing nicely together. Maybe they're giving lessons ...
Traci Hukill

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