Dennis “Polar Bear” Agnew Memorial Skatepark in Venice


It sounds like The Venice Surf and Skate Association (VSA) is now officially recognized as the controlling entity for opening festivities at the new Venice Beach skatepark after fifteen hard years of work and a bunch of last minute commotion over the last two weeks.

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At the end of last month, a PR release by ASA Entertainment, LLC and Warner Bros. Consumer Products set off tensions between the The Venice Surf and Skate Association (VSA) and L.A City Recreation and Parks Department (RAP) when ASA/Warner Bros announced that their Supergirl Snowboard Rail Jam and Skateboard Street Contest would open the new Venice Skatepark Labor Day Weekend (September 6)

From ASA/Warner Bros’ press release:

The Supergirl Jam kicks off Labor Day weekend when, on September 6, the Snowboard Rail Jam and Skateboard Street elements of the Supergirl Jam will hit Venice Beach in conjunction with the opening of Venice’s amazing new beachside skatepark. The skateboarders will be the first to compete in Venice’s brand new skatepark, christening the unique course with their skill and finesse.

The VSA and Ger-I L promptly responded with:

Let it be known that the members of the VSA will not tolerate this event or any others that have not been approved by VSA. The VSA is the sole community organization DIRECTLY responsible for the creation of the skatepark. We will not allow L.A City Recreation and Parks to upsurp the VSA’s efforts and or steal the VSA’s RIGHT to celebrate organize and produce the Grand Opening of the Dennis Agnew Memorial Skatepark, Futhermore the VSA has reached out many times to L.A City Recreation and Parks to establish some type of repor however the VSA has only been given the cold shoulder.

A barrage of letters were sent at that point from VSA supporters to Recreations and Parks officials, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Venice Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s offices and a meeting then held between the VSA and RAP on August 3rd.

The VSA had this to say about the meeting:

RAP reps(Victor, Lydia and Al) were in full government damage control as the three attempted to deny any knowledge of the ASA skateboard event “Super Girl”.However the three jesters did admit to to permitting the other two Super Girl events. You are kidding me, right? Did these three think we just fell off our skateboards yesterday?

Parks and Recreation had this to say:

“It was never intended” that a commercial event would be the first to use the 16,000-square-foot park’s three swimming-pool-size basins, its rails and half-pipes, said Lydia Ritzman, principal recreation supervisor for the Venice area. “They are not using the new skate park.”

and ASA Chief Executive Rick Bratman said the skate park announcement was

“a horrible miscommunication” by “publicists who put out the wrong information.”

We are a bit late in posting up the story, as we were waiting on an official response from Denise at ASA Entertainment, LLC who put out the initial press release, but we haven’t gotten one from her yet so there you have it.

It sounds like the VSA will be able to open and control events happening at the skatepark, and rightfully so. After 15 long years of tireless effort spearheaded by Geri Lewis and Jesse Martinez, it is good to see them officially being put in charge of the event, if there was ever a doubt they were not.

The next thing that may happen is someone may try and pull a quickie and name the park after their daughter, but we are sure the VSA will succeed in having it named The Dennis “Polar Bear” Agnew Memorial Skatepark as they want it to be. After all their time and selfless service to the community in spearheading and having the park created, we think it should be named the Geri Lewis and Jesse Martinez Skatepark at Venice Beach, but as parks can’t be named after living greats, that’s not gonna happen.



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