Cody Rocamontes was 15 years old three and a half years ago. And absolutely fearless.
The Martin High School sophomore would lug his skateboard everywhere, jumping steep stairs, rails and ramps without thinking twice. He and his friends dreamt of someday starting a public skatepark in Arlington.
In August 2009, Cody was struck by a car and killed while walking near Interstate-20 to one of his favorite skateboarding stops, a retail parking lot.
This week, his dream became reality. Cody’s friends and family gathered with Arlington community members to dedicate the new Cody Rocamontes Memorial Skatepark in Randol Mill Park.
Tuesday would have been Cody’s 19th birthday.
“Cody would have been beside himself,” said his mother, Kim Grobe. “He would have been here all the time. This is just fabulous.”
The new 5,400-square foot skatepark — which is the first in Arlington — includes skating and BMX challenges for beginner and intermediate users.
The first phase of the park includes such features as a hipped bank, a manual pad with rail, a flat bar and park builder Spohn Ranch’s signature “skateable art” pieces Curved Taco and Dragon Trail.
The second phase will include a mellow ledge, stair set with rail, pole jam, euro gap, kinked hubba, round wall and bent penny.
An estimated 18,000 people in Arlington skateboard more than once a week, and two-thirds of respondents to a city survey said they skate on Arlington streets rather than at skateparks in other cities.
Just ask 14-year-old George Talevera, of Arlington, who grew up skating on streets around the city but now hangs out at the new park almost every weekend.
“It’s a lot safer and a lot more fun,” Talevera said. “We’re just excited to have a place to skate.”
Taylor Haster, 18, of Arlington, recalled trying to track down places to skate, then being kicked out of numerous business parking lots.
“We finally have a home,” she said.
On Tuesday, skaters of all levels showed off their moves and feasted on grilled hot dogs and birthday cake for Cody. Attendees sang Happy Birthday and released orange balloons for the teenager’s favorite color.
Before a ribbon cutting, city leaders praised the work of Cody’s friends and family, who lobbied Arlington City Council and raised money to build the skatepark. They even established a nonprofit, Cody Rocamontes Inc., and distributed hundreds of orange shirts all over Arlington.
“We’re here to celebrate the life of Cody,” Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck said. “We should never forget Cody or his parents, and we will be reminded of them every time we come to this park.”
(City article and photos)