Santa Paula Times

City Council approves Veterans Park for skatepark

August 28, 2002
Santa Paula City Council

Santa Paula kids have something to celebrate as the City Council gave final approval for Veterans Memorial Park to be the home of a new skatepark.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesSanta Paula kids have something to celebrate as the City Council gave final approval for Veterans Memorial Park to be the home of a new skatepark.The council, minus absent Mayor Ray Luna, okayed the plan at the Aug. 19th meeting.Public Works Director/City Engineer Norm Wilkinson noted that the city made a failed attempt to locate the skatepark along the railroad corridor and “we went back to the drawing board to find a site.“Councilman Don Johnson made a suggestion to take a close look at the parking lot at the north side of Veterans Park,” said Wilkinson.The best option with the least impact is to construct the 10,000 square foot skatepark mostly on the parking lot, with minimal spillage onto the park property.Parking flow would be redirected, and entering from Mill Street and exiting onto 10th Street would be eliminated. Vehicles entering from 10th Street would be able to flow to Mill Street or circle exit back onto 10th again. In all, only about nine out of the 80 parking spaces would be eliminated for park construction.How a skatepark would impact carnivals and festivals is minimal, and would not hinder set-ups and tear-downs of amusement equipment.Wilkinson said it was important to consider “neighborhood issues” including noise, and the plan would not bother residents. “The park also has the option of being literally next door to the fire station,” which provides “secondary supervision and response to the inevitable bumps and scrapes,” of skateboarders.
“I’m wondering how sacred the mail boxes are over there,” and the lost parking spaces, said Councilman John Procter.“I’ve never seen the parking full unless there’s a carnival,” said Councilman Rick Cook.Wilkinson said the parking spaces are over-sized and would be tightened up to lessen parking loss.Acting Mayor Laura Flores Espinosa asked if “looky-loos” driving past the skatepark might create a traffic hazard.“I think there may be some possibility of that,” that could be abated with screening to “make it less interesting to gawk at as traffic passes,” said Wilkinson. The south side would be more visible for parents and spectators, so people “can sit at picnic tables and watch their kids.” A portable bleacher with elevated seating would also be provided, as the park will have a bowl, Wilkinson added.“I want to thank Norm for thinking outside the box,” said Marisue Eastlake, a skate park advocate and Santa Paula Association of Skaters co-founder with area youth.Eastlake noted that the skatepark effort started about two years ago and support has been overwhelming. Insurance issues have been defined and needs of a skate park - restrooms, water fountains, proximity to restaurants and high visibility, among others - are ideally matched by a Veterans Park location.“We wanted a plan that would make everyone happy,” and such a plan has been presented, Eastlake noted.Espinosa noted that the 5-Year Youth Plan that she and Johnson were involved in also called for a skate park. “Now, some of those kids are college students and we have up and coming star skaters,” that will utilize the new park.