(Re)Making a Skate Park in West Oakland

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Douglas Kittredge is a carpenter, builder, set-builder, and artist.  He’s founder of OakTownHall, an old-West style building meant as a center for community projects, located in the enormous American Steel Studios building in West Oakland. He’s also Anarchitectural, a design/build company that specializes in “building the future with what remains of the past.”

OakTown Hall inside American Steel

OakTown Hall inside American Steel

Last fall & winter, Kittredge was one of the crew that created, built and programmed the magical and temporary Peralta Junction Project—a gorgeous pop-up community events “square” right across from American Steel. It was while working on that project, outside the walls of American Steel, that Kittredge got a deeper bead on what was going down in the adjacent West Oakland neighborhood.

That’s when he discovered Town Park Sk8 Gallery—a skate park with ramps etc— in the nearby DeFremery Park. Town Park Sk8 Gallery is, according to Kittredge, West Oakland’s most used recreational facility in West Oakland.   It’s also one of the most in need of repairs and maintenance.

20130909223350-563183_10151242064182191_1215395884_n_copyKittredge, along with park founder and resident mentor Keith “K-Dub” Williams, has been on a mission ever since to repair and improve the mostly wooden facility.  Kittredge himself has done 24 hour stints, staying all night in the park to get ramps fixed and ready for events.

K-Dub’s plan is to get the City of Oakland to realize that the park needs a more solid park infrastructure that is not so easily degrades as wood ramps with sheet metal (that occasionally gets stolen and sold for scrap).

In the meantime, the two of them persist.  Kittredge has organized a series of work parties—the next of which is this coming Sunday—where skilled and unskilled alike can pitch in to help make West Oakland’s most used rec facility decent.

He’s also recently launched an IndieGoGo campaign to raise much-needed repair funds. There are truly amazing benefits from American Steel artists. But the campaign to date has only raised $1800 of the needed $15K—and there are only 15 days left in the campaign.

East Bay Mini Maker Faire is super happy to have Douglas, K-Dub and some of the Town Park Sk8 Gallery skaters exhibit at the fair on October 20.  But October 20th is too late to help the park with the IndieGoGo campaign or recruit helpers for this weekend’s work party.

Needless to say, if you can, please contribute today.  And if you’re a maker, get down to the park on Sunday from noon-6 PM to pitch in and lend a hand.

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