October 3 saw the opening of Venice’s new Dennis “Polar Bear” Agnew Skate Park on the beach at the foot of Windward Avenue. The 16,000-square-foot park offers a bowl and five mini-bowls, as well as steps, a “snake run,” and a street course with handrails.
The opening ceremonies were attended by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, who helped to secure the funds to build the park. On hand also were members of the original “Z-Boys,” Jay Adams and Tony Alva, and Ger-I Lewis and Jesse Martinez of the Venice Surf and Skateboard Association (VSA).
The park is the culmination of a decade of efforts by skateboarders to have a skate park on the former grounds of the long-demolished Venice Pavilion. The 3.5 million project was funded by surplus real property trust funds and by donations from private companies.
VSA members lobbied for a park that would replicate the empty swimming pools used back in the 1970s by the Dogtown skateboarders. The park is named in honor of Dennis Agnew, one of the original Venice skaters of the Dogtown heyday and a member of the Z-Flex team.
VSA’s blog notes that while they have accomplished their mission of getting the park built, the real task has now begun-maintaining the park’s safety, cleanliness, and integrity.