Slowly but surely, Solana Beach’s skatepark is taking shape

Solana Beach’s decade-old effort to build a skatepark in La Colonia Park took an incremental step last week as the city council gave engineers the go-ahead to prepare construction documents that will nail down the precise specs for the 6,000-square-foot facility.

And with the project still facing a $270,000 shortfall, the council also gave its fundraising campaign a boost by agreeing to offer donor tiles.

At the council’s Sept. 27 meeting, Site Design Group — a Carlsbad-based firm that designed the Encinitas and Carmel Valley skateparks — walked council members through a linear, plaza-style layout that will allow more skaters to use the park at once. The design is a hybrid of two concepts presented to the public for feedback this summer, combining transition-style skating and street-style skating.

Settling on a design concept and allowing donor tiles will open the door to more aggressive fundraising, said Linda Swindell, who has spearheaded the skatepark campaign as a member of the city’s recreation committee.

“A lot of the events and fundraising that we have done have been more focused on awareness,” she said. “We’ve been waiting to get to a point where we could go for something bigger as far as getting people to be able to put out a big chunk of money when they see something tangible and know that they can do the donor tiles.”

Total costs — including a proposed basketball court next to the skatepark — are expected to come to $821,000. (The basketball court, because of its $60,000 price tag, is being broken off into a separate bid.) The city has committed $541,000 so far, while the fundraising campaign has come up with more than $10,000.

Solana Beach is pinning its hopes for the remaining $270,000 on the county’s Neighborhood Reinvestment Program. The County Board of Supervisors is expected to decide on the city’s grant later this month or in mid-November.

If the grant comes through, city officials want construction to start early next year, followed by a grand opening sometime in the summer.

While the city awaits word on the grant, the Solana Beach Civic & Historical Society on Oct. 13 is hosting world-renowned sports photographer Lucia Griggi for a presentation on the history of skateboarding titled “The Skateboard: the Good, the Rad and the Gnarly.” The event runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 13 at Fletcher Cove Community Center, 133 Pacific Ave. Other speakers will include Lenore Hawk Dale (Tony Hawk’s sister), Solana Beach resident Sean Glatts, who recently set a skateboarding world record, and Mayor Mike Nichols, who was a sponsored skater before coming to California.