Sunday, November 15, 2015

A skatepark opens in East Cambridge

Yesterday, to much pomp and circumstance, under the curving concrete deck of I-93, next to North Point Park, opened a skatepark.

Boston mayor Marty Walsh at the mike
The mayors of Boston and Cambridge were there. Cambridge deputy city manager Lisa Peterson was there. Old folks like me were there. And the rest of the crowd was young and held in their hands something with wheels on it - a board or a bike or skates or something. The wind and the cold couldn't keep any of us away.

Skaters and bikers enjoying the fun
If ever there were an example of "Build It And They Will Come", this is it. Situated in what might be called throwaway land, it's a genius vision of how to bring life into a place that would otherwise be considered a liability.

Every 15-year-old whoever hops on a board to grind or carve on the glass-smooth surface needs to thank Renata von Tscharner, the president of Charles River Conservancy. Renata's vision saw this into being and her perseverance ensured her vision actually became a ribbon cutting.

Renata von Tscharner, prime mover

Of course, she needed money too, and Peter Lynch, the Boston-based financial guru funded the construction of the park and got his name on the plaque in exchange.

Saturday morning's events were a reminder of just how much good is going on in Boston and Cambridge these days, and why we should never take this good fortune for granted. It all may change someday. Given that it took Renata about a decade to bring this idea from concept to concrete, it's important to remember just how hard it is to change something for the better, and how much time it takes. We live in lucky times in this part of the world.

Heck, the event was good enough to lure skateboarding royalty out for the day ... Robert Winters graced us with his presence, showing off his latest equipment ...

That's quite a board there, sir. Custom built?