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Lodi skatepark on a roll again

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Posted: Sunday, November 13, 2005 10:00 pm

Riding a skateboard can be somewhat habit forming, if you listen to young people who frequent Lodi's skateboard park at Kofu Park.

When asked how often they show up at the skateboard park, three Lodi teenagers said, one at a time, "I come out here every day."

Cameron Wilde, a freshman at Lodi High, said on Sunday he enjoys the fun of skateboarding and meeting new people.

Wilde said he skates after school from about 3:30 to 5 p.m., and then more than three hours on weekends.

"I just started skating," he said. "It's pretty fun."

If you think Wilde spends a lot of time skateboarding, check out Wesley Hardway sometime. A freshman at Tokay High, Hardway said he arrives at the Ham Lane skateboard park on weekends between 10 and 11 a.m. and goes home at 3 or 4 p.m.

After being deserted for about a year due to repair and liability issues, the city of Lodi reopened the park in February after acquiring liability insurance with a deductible of $500,000. The park was open in June 2002. The city charged $7 at the time for a three-hour session or $50 for an annual membership, plus a $4 admission fee.

Now there's free admission.

About a dozen people were seen with their skateboards mid-Sunday afternoon. One of them was 18-year-old Justin Smestad, who just moved to Lodi in August from North Dakota, where the weather only allows skateboarding outdoors about three months a year, he said. But they have indoor skateboard parks there.

As mild as Lodi is in comparison, Smestad realizes it will be too wet at times to test his favorite moves.

"It would be nice if they make an indoor skatepark," Smestad said.

The skateboard park is now open from 2:30 p.m. to dusk on weekdays and from 9 a.m. to dusk on weekends. Admission is free, but users must acquire a skate park identification card from the Lodi Parks and Recreation Department. Cost is $1 without a picture on the identification card or $3 with a photo.

The sign at the entrance to Kofu Park says the city it assumes no liability for injuries.

The city requires skateboard users to wear a helmet, knee and elbow pads. Several activities are prohibited, including using additional ramps or jumps, loud music, eating, possessing alcohol or tobacco, engaging in graffiti, using profanity and bringing animals in the park.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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