“I hope you are ready to ‘shred the gnar’!” advised Joanna Axelrod, director of community services, February 13 as she reported to the Escondido City Council on efforts to build the first skate spot in town at Washington Park.
The city council voted to approve a consulting agreement with New Line Skateparks for the Washington Skate Spot. New Line’s bid was $143,574 to design the skate park and parking lot. The total amount approved by the council for the skate site was $300,000.
“The staff is very excited to see this move forward,” Axelrod told the council. The process began in September 2016 when the city council instructed Community Services to move forward with the process of building skate parks throughout the city.
Community Services held a skate plaza rally in 2017 at Washington Park and obtained input from skaters and parents, plus 146 surveys that were filled out with what features skaters want in their parks.
“Most were willing to be involved,” said Axelrod.
The plan is to build a skateboard park of about 5,000 square feet in Washington Park. The first park will be centrally located and near a neighborhood and schools. It will be easily accessible by foot to many residents via the Creek Trail.
The cost for a skate park is about $50 per square foot, including 10-15% for design. The council voted to budget $300,000 total for the park and parking lot. The staff will also pursue other funding sources such as local and county grants and grants by non-profits such as the Tony Hawk Foundation.
“Public involvement is so important for the success of this park. We plan to gather input from staff, police, public works, park users and the community. Six community meetings and interactive design workshops will be held,” Axelrod said. “Stakeholders will be invited to submit input via the city website, social media and a custom web portal.”
Staff will also reach out to those who attended the skate rally in 2017.
The resolution approved unanimously by the council authorizes the mayor and city clerk to execute a consulting agreement with New Line Skateparks, which has extensive experience in this field.
Council member Consuelo Martinez enthused, “I’m really excited about this project, and excited about the outreach. I think it was the best outreach I’ve seen. Hundreds of youths attended that rally. I’m excited about this becoming a reality!”
Councilmember Olga Diaz said, “I’d like to thank [councilmember] John Masson. It has taken you years to get to this stage. I’m happy and I’d like to ask, how do we move ideas along faster, without taking so long? This isn’t even a huge project. We’ve got to find a way to move ideas faster. This is at the insistence of John and your insistence got it done. Every idea you have is going to take years unless we find a way to move. I look forward to you finding a way to build other skate spots. I’m happy to have one but I’d like to have them all over the place.”
Councilmember Mike Morasco said he was happy they were talking about an “all-wheel” skatepark. “There were people of all types at that rally and people from different areas of the city,” he said. “I’m extremely pleased to see that the parking component is being addressed as well. It’s truly needed.”
Masson basked in the glory for a moment. “It’s been a long row to hoe. Something this simple you’d think we could make it happen faster. I grew up skating. I think having more of these spots for kids to hang out and get their aggression out is a beautiful thing.”
Mayor Paul McNamara chuckled and quipped, “Who knew the city council was such skateboard enthusiasts? I hope the fire chief has EMTs out there.”