Wednesday, August 22, 2007

New Skate Park? Not Quite Yet

Quick! Somebody check to see if hell has frozen over! It must have, because at the Costa Mesa City Council meeting last night local Habitat for Humanity honcho Mark Korando and an activist who very much resembles my theoretical character, Your Neighbor, agreed that Lions Park is not the best site for a new skate park. Korando expressed astonishment that he and the activist agreed on something. Politics does, indeed, make for strange bedfellows.

The short version of the discussion of the proposal to fund, to the tune of nearly $80,000, preliminary plans for a skate park up to 25,000 square feet at Lions Park is that it was spirited. The upshot was that Linda Dixon made a motion to put the plan on hold until October, for staff work with the contractor to provide an estimate on a smaller skate park at Lions Park that won't interfere with the pavilion, tot lot or airplane and to provide information about re-opening the Fairview Park master plan to consider the placement of a skate park and a dog recreation area at that venue. Her motion also included direction to consider closing a portion of Park Avenue near Lions Park.
The vote on Dixon's motion was 3-2, with our young jailer/mayor and his sidekick, the mayor pro tem, voting no. I was pleased that Wendy Leece took the initiative to pull this item from the Consent Calendar for discussion and lead that discussion to it's conclusion. Finally, an independent act.


Many residents spoke passionately on this subject. Several homeowners near Lions Park raised many good questions about the inappropriateness of a skate park at that venue because of loss of green space and other valuable park elements. Representatives of the skate community provided their special insights. I'd like to report that I watched former councilman Mike Scheafer wrap up the public comments with a rousing summation - but I can't. The feed from City Hall went black in the middle of his presentation for what seemed like an eternity. It was actually less than two minutes, including the time it took to get the audio back once the picture returned. Reports from those present advised me that Scheafer's presentation was excellent. I wish I'd heard it all.


During the discussion several speakers opined that, because Costa Mesa is home to many major players in the skateboard industry it should be on the forefront with it's skate park efforts. They spoke of a large, world-class skate park that would attract skaters from all over and perhaps become a venue for international competitions. That sounds like something worth considering, particularly as we've now put Fairview Park in play.

It will be very interesting to see how this plays out this fall.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

It sounds like the community is being listened to and that is the most important thing. I like the idea of a smaller skate park feature. I wonder if adding mini skate park features to several existing park site would be feasible. It would be like adding swing sets, but skate board doohickeys (that is a technical term too complicated to define in this space) instead.

8/22/2007 10:22:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Bruce, love the technical terms! "Elements", "features", are what you're looking for. In my view, the perfect scenario would be a major, world-class skate park of 40,000 square feet (TeWinkle is 15,000) at Fairview Park, a smaller skate facility at Lions Park in an area that doesn't force the removal of existing features and infrastructure PLUS small skate elements in neighborhood parks throughout the city. Right now beginners really have no place to skate. They'll get mowed down at TeWinkle, even though most of the skaters there look out for the little kids. We need places for the neighborhood kids to go and learn their skills. The council decision last night is a good first step.

8/22/2007 10:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree - as pointed out last night, Costa Mesa is the epicenter of the skateboard culture in the US, with the manufactureres located here. We NEED a destination type skate park, where BMX can be accomodated, and future events like the X-Games can be hosted. Fairview Park is perfect, both because of size and proximity to Estancia and ample parking.

The small skate elements at local parks would be fantastic. Pinkley Park could definitely benefit from such a small installation. Kids hang out ther all the time.

8/22/2007 01:46:00 PM  

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