A celebration kicked off Wednesday with the formal opening of a skate park within St. John's School Park.

Students from St. John the Evangelist Catholic School, neighborhood residents and city and county representatives attended the festivities to mark the $500,000 project.

The skate park at 602 W. Ajo Way, which is the second phase of the community park, was designed for both skates and skateboards, said Leonard Basurto, a Pima County Interfaith Council representative for St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church.

"Skateboarders in the neighborhood are already using the park, and families are exercising on the paved track in the community park," Basurto said.

"Soccer teams are also using the community park for practices and recreation. The park is serving lots of families in the area," said Basurto.

The Pima County Neighborhood Reinvestment Program and the city's Back to Basics funds provided for the construction of the skate park, and amenities including a ramada with picnic grills, lighting, fencing, a sidewalk, a drinking fountain, landscaping, seating and the asphalt paving on an existing jogging track at the community park.

The first phase of the community park cost $400,000, which was used for the park's construction on about five acres just north of the church.

The city and parish entered into a lease agreement for the park. The parish owns the property, and the city is the tenant leasing the land for 25 years and paying $1 a year with an option to renew. Beginning in 2032, the lease will be up for discussion and renewal every two years.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at 573-4104 or cduarte@azstarnet.com