Solana Beach council allocates $300,000 for skate park

Solana Beach could eventually have its own skate park.

The Solana Beach City Council on Oct. 26 unanimously agreed to allocate $300,000 from a surplus fund to move forward with a skate park, which was first proposed as part of the planned renovations of the 3.79-acre La Colonia Park and Community Center.

“I think this is something great that we can do,” Councilwoman Lesa Heebner said.

In 2007, an advisory committee made up of staff and community members developed a needs assessment for La Colonia Park and Community Center. The council in 2008 approved plans produced by Van Dyke Landscape Architects.

The two-phase project detailed all exterior improvements west of the community center for the first phase, and the renovation and expansion of the community center, relocation of parking lot areas and construction of a new plaza for the second phase. Preliminary design plans were completed in 2010, with a total estimated cost at $4.6 million for park improvements and $800,000 for community center improvements.

Initially, the council intended to use funds from the city’s redevelopment agency to renovate the park and community center, including constructing the skate park, but Gov. Jerry Brown abolished redevelopment agencies in 2011 and the plans have since been on hold.

With support from community members, the city completed the construction of the Veterans Honor Courtyard at La Colonia Park, which was also first proposed as part of the planned renovations of the park and community center.

The project was funded with city general funds, a county grant, and money raised from donor tiles. The Veterans Honor Courtyard was dedicated in a ceremony last Memorial Day.

Now, with support from a group of community members led by the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission, the city is moving forward with the skate park portion of the project.

“I have lived in Solana Beach for 30 years and have witnessed our city’s need for a skate park,” resident Lenore Dale said in a letter to the city. “My children had no place to skate except Encinitas YMCA and it’s time for their children to have a local skate park.”

The estimated cost for the skate park in 2010 was $250,000. As a standalone project, City Engineer Mo Sammak said the project is now estimated to cost about $400,000 to $450,000 for the skate park and minor but necessary modifications to the soccer field and perimeter pathway.

In addition to the $300,000 allocated from a surplus fund, the Tony Hawk Foundation provided $5,000 for the project.

“With approximately 4,000 skate parks in the nation, we are seeing lasting value in these facilities through their ability to draw teenagers and young adults off the streets and off their couches,” Alec Beck, the foundation’s programs director, said in a letter to the city.

“Skate parks have shown to be an effective deterrent to other less desirable activities while supporting healthy and habitual athletic recreation,” Beck said. “An investment in public recreation for young people helps establish active lifestyles early, when it is most important, and can lead to a lifetime of positive health impacts.”

The city launched a fundraising campaign for the skateboarding section of the approved master plan with “Skateboard Day at La Colonia Park” on Sunday, Oct. 9 at the park.

“The outpouring of support at the recent skate park event at La Colonia Park demonstrated not only a clear service need, but community advocacy in action as well,” Beck said in his letter.

“Definitely saw all the support at the event,” Linda Swindell, who serves on the Parks and Recreation Commission, said at the council meeting. “There’s a lot of community interest out there to do additional fundraising.”

The Surfing Madonna Beach Run has pledged to donate $20,000 for the project. The city already received $1,000 from the Solana Beach Sunset 5K and “Skateboard Day at La Colonia Park” raised about $2,200. In addition, about $14,000 in surplus money for the Veterans Honor Courtyard is available.

Community members in support of the project hope to raise the remaining funds.

Supporters are already working with the Coastal Community Foundation to help raise funds for the skate park. For more information or to make a donation, visit http://coastalfoundation.org/programs/solana-beach-

skatepark-fund.

“I think this is much needed,” Councilman Mike Nichols said.

“The kids need a place to go so they’re not loitering down at Fletcher Cove,” Councilwoman Ginger Marshall added. “They should be loitering down at the skate park.”

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