Skateboard and BMX enthusiasts gather for the opening of La Quinta’s X Park

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Eight-year-old Mazel Algado of Fontana stood with her skateboard at the edge of a bowl at La Quinta’s new X Park on Wednesday afternoon, ready to take on another run.

“It’s really fluid. I really like it,” said Algado, who started skateboarding at age 5 after his brother taught him how.

“My dream is to go to the Olympics and be a professional skater,” she said.

Wednesday’s opening marked the culmination of years of planning and development of the $4.64 million X Park, which officials say is the largest competitive skating and BMX facility in the Coachella Valley.

Adam Smith takes a spin while riding at the newly opened X Park in La Quinta, Calif. on March 23, 2022.

Built for the city by Spohn Ranch, the 31,000 square foot X Park, at the southeast corner of Westward Ho/Blackhawk Way and Dune Palms Road, features three bowls, a concrete pump track, a pro shop and other amenities.

The park was recently tested by legendary pro skateboarder Tony Hawkwho called it “first class” and “one of the best parks built”.

“We are thrilled to be smoothly opening X Park,” said Chris Escobedo, director of community resources for the city. “Already, the public appreciates it and expresses its appreciation for this superb new installation.”

The amenities and design are based on feedback from wheel sports enthusiasts who attended several community workshops after City Council approved the Spohn Ranch contract in 2018.

X Park was built for all skill levels and ages, including wheelchair and adapted athletes.

Among the amenities:

  • 31,000 square feet of skate area.
  • 3 bowls of varying depth and challenge for beginners, advanced and professional users, also wheelchair accessible.
  • Large skateable X sculpture.
  • 1,400 square foot pro-shop with restrooms and observation deck.
  • Concrete pump track and modern street course with a variety of stairs, ramps and ledges.

There are still a few things to do, including upgrades to the pro shop, which are underway with shelves, Wi-Fi, merchandise, snacks and the ability to repair skateboards, Escobedo said.

A request for proposals for landscape improvements will be issued next week, which will include trees for shade. Also, picnic tables and benches will be ordered, he said.

A “totally safe place”

People enjoy the new X Park in La Quinta, California on March 23, 2022.

About 15 people were waiting when the gates first opened at noon on Wednesday, said Michael Magnetti, BMX events coordinator for Action Park Alliance, or APA.

Around 1 p.m., more than 100 people of all ages and skill levels were in the park.

“It’s a good day,” said APA executive director Mark Laue, looking out at the crowd, which included skate and BMX enthusiasts of all ages, including families with young children.

“It’s a completely safe place for everyone, including families with children,” Laue said.

City signs contract with APA for $285,390 per year to manage Park X, which maintains the fenced facility staffed with trained and experienced staff. They also offer lessons.

Competitive events are scheduled, Laue said, and will be posted on the X Park website, laquintaxpark.com. One event he has promised is the return of the El Gato Classic to the Valley in early November.

The El Gato Classic is a series of contests and events created by skateboarding legend and two-time world champion Eddie “El Gato” Elguera, who lives in Palm Desert.

Elguera and famed skateboarding pro Steve Caballero were seen among skate and BMX enthusiasts testing the bowls, pump track and other gear on Wednesday.

Aaron Spohn, founder and president of the Los Angeles-based skate park development company that bears his name, stood at the edge of one of the bowls on Wednesday morning to take in all the activity.

For more than 30 years, the company has been developing award-winning skate parks across the country and in 15 countries.

“It’s the best park on the West Coast, if not the country,” Spohn said.

“This project took a few years to come to fruition,” he said. “Today is the big reward when we see people coming and using the park.”

A biker rides at the newly opened X Park in La Quinta, California on March 23, 2022.

He especially enjoyed seeing families out on Wednesday, saying skateboarding has been a generational sport long enough for dads to teach their kids to ride bikes.

Among the families were Joel and Alyssa Monroe of La Quinta, who were waiting at the door to enter with their four children, ages 4 to 8.

Dad had his skateboard and the kids had their BMX bikes and helmets, ready to roll.

“We’re thrilled,” said Joel Monroe, who’s been a “very long time skateboarder.”

Each of them was eager to try the pump track.

“It’s the longest continuous pump track in the country, I hear,” Monroe said.

Beyond the initial vision of the city

Mayor Linda Evans visited the park Wednesday afternoon and said Spohn Ranch exceeded expectations in terms of size and variety of amenities.

“It goes beyond the vision we started with and turned out better than we anticipated when we started the project,” said Evans, who appreciated the positive energy flowing through the park.

“Even if you think it’s like kids, there were people of all ages, not just the parents,” Evans said.

“I met a dad who has twins and another son, and they were all there and just said thank you for giving them a safe place to skate,” she said.

The city is planning a grand opening event once the retail store, called Rhythm Skateshop, is finalized, likely in April or May, Escobedo said.

X Park is open from noon to 9 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. It is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

La Quinta residents can use the facility for $2 per day or $25 per year. Entry for non-residents is $5 per day or $50 per year.

Helmets are mandatory for all participants and available for rental in all sizes for $2 per day. Waivers are required for use of the facilities and can be filled out in advance at laquintaca.gov/XPark.

Desert Sun reporter Sherry Barkas covers the cities of La Quinta, Indian Wells, Rancho Mirage and Palm Desert. She can be contacted at sherry.barkas@thedesertsun.com. Follow her on Twitter @TDSsherryBarkas

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