Letter: Be the Community’s Voice, Speak Up for a Skatepark

Jasmine Smith, Dana Point

“The Parks Division of the Community Services & Parks Department is responsible for the maintenance of 23 beautiful parks that provide safe, clean and attractive facilities for the citizens of Dana Point. There are 82 acres of developed park land with approximately 3,000 trees, six outdoor restroom buildings, 10 playgrounds, five dog fun zones and 18 parks with security lighting.”

When I read this on the city of Dana Point’s website I was taken aback. The city won’t entertain the idea of a skate park because there is nowhere to put it? You can have five “dog fun zones” and 82 acres of parks, but you can’t find one spot to build a skate park for our kids and teens?

How our elected City Council has written off something that has garnered so much support from our residents is baffling. We elected you to be the voice of our community. The community wants this.

It seems all City Council cares about is Town Center and what flags and signs they will install, putting in more hotels, making our hotels bigger and refurbishing the Harbor. But what are you doing for our youth? What are you doing for our families?

By denying a skate park in Dana Point, the council is overlooking many of the positive characteristics we put so much value on. Skateparks foster a strong sense of community, build camaraderie among kids and families and help keep our children active and healthy in a safe, secure environment.

City Council’s dismissal of this recent “Skatepark of Dana Point” movement, combined with the fact that skateboarding is banned in all city parks, is extremely disappointing. And now Marco Forster Middle School has even banned kids from riding their skateboards to school, citing complaints from area businesses. Seriously? These are children we are talking about here.

Skateboarding benefits our youth in so many ways that it should be encouraged rather than ignored and banned. It is a means for them to get around and to expend their energy in a positive way. It provides an opportunity for our kids to get outside, stay active and be athletic while engaging in a positive alternative to typical team sports.

Why is the city trying to criminalize something that is so good for our kids both physically and mentally? Are our leaders truly representing the community that elected them? The support behind this movement is hard to ignore.

Let’s get a skatepark in Dana Point. It’s time to give back to today’s youth.

EDITOR’S NOTE:Jasmine Smith is senior designer of the Dana Point Times, San Clemente Times and The Capistrano Dispatch. The opinions expressed are entirely those of the letter writer and do not reflect those of the DP Times or Picket Fence Media.

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10 Responses to “Letter: Be the Community’s Voice, Speak Up for a Skatepark”

  1. Sher Fuller
    June 11, 2014 at 11:41 am #

    I agree with Jasmine regarding a skate park for our kids, it’s long overdue. Our kids deserve a place of their own to burn off energy and compete if they wish. If there is any negative connotation about skateboarding it’s because they have no place of their own. Our community is growing and with it more kids, let’s pay more attention to them.

  2. Dana Point Dad
    June 11, 2014 at 1:28 pm #

    A Skate Park? We don’t even have a city youth sports complex in Dana Point much less a Skate Park. A youth sports complex should be a much higher priority, if a Skate Park was included in any plans for a youth sports complex, that would be acceptable.

  3. Jasmine
    June 11, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

    Dana Point Dad:

    We do have a Community Center that offers little league fields as well as basketball, tennis and racquet ball courts. And possibly a playground if I remember correctly.

  4. Karla
    June 12, 2014 at 7:56 am #

    I am having my kid write a letter right now. This is so important!

  5. Paul
    June 12, 2014 at 8:47 am #

    I agree that a skate park is a good idea. Unfortunately, our city is more interested in outside money than it’s citizens welfare and the county seems to think in the same terms. If it doesn’t provide direct income it is not a priority. The city would have to take out a loan to build this and without a return on investment it would be hard sell.
    While a skate park will benefit kids ( mostly boys 10 to 15 years of age) it is a costly venture that requires property and construction dollars. The negative connotations of skateboarding and the reason businesses are against it is the danger it poses to those using pedestrian sidewalks. The current costs to thwart skateboard use over and above signage is the metal “stops” that have been added to most curbs and step rails. Unfortunately part of the fun of skateboarding is to ride the edges of the baord on hand rails, curbs and corners of mostly pedestrian areas. A skate park won’t stop this and only responsible boarders would realize the danger it poses to themselves as well as pedestrians ( 10-15 years olds mosly boys remember?). I think an effort to educate, train and compete for boarders might make a responsible stab in the right direction. It might make the business owners take notice and support ,( much like them sponsoring little league baseball), a sport that develops our young in a healthy activity that promotes camrauderie and physical as well as social well being.

    • SKATEPARK OF DANA POINT
      June 12, 2014 at 4:08 pm #

      Paul,

      I would like to elaborate on some of your comments. Skateparks DO NOT only cater to kids from the 10 – 15 year old range. Being a skateboarder myself, as well as working in the skate industry, I spend a lot of time in parks all over California and beyond. The age demographic using a skatepark at any given time ranges from 3 years old to 45 years old. This is not an exaggeration either. As you mentioned the city having to take out loans, there are a lot of ways to off set the expense of building a park. For example, there are lots of local and global foundations set up to provide funding for skatepark projects. In example, The Tony Hawk Foundation has donated more than 5 million dollars to fund over 544 skateparks in the U.S. serving more than 4.8 million users annually. Besides the T.H.F. (which is located in Laguna Beach) The Ryan Sheckler Foundation (located in San Clemente) is dedicated to providing parks to cities and after speaking to Ryan, he is committed to skatepark in Dana Point. As you mentioned ” If it doesn’t provide direct income it is not a priority.” Well, fortunately a skatepark is one of the highest grossing city park features. How you ask? I give you the example of etnies Skatepark in Lake Forest. Last year the park grossed over $100K in selling food and beverages, membership passes and hosting events that bring thousands of spectators in to see the professionals. The best part about all of this, skateparks cost virtually nothing to maintain. After all, a skatepark is mostly concrete and metal. While other costly park features like baseball and soccer fields cost thousands to maintain, they go unused 80% of the time.

      In addition to your comment about skateboarders “skateboarding is to ride the edges of the baord on hand rails, curbs and corners of mostly pedestrian areas” as well as “A skate park won’t stop this and only responsible boarders would realize the danger it poses to themselves as well as pedestrians ( 10-15 years olds mosly boys remember?)”

      It is incorrect that skateboarders ride the edges of their boards on these features. I believe you are referring to the “trucks”. The dangers that skateboarding posses is minimal. In fact, the highest injury prone sport is basketball. Referring back to etnies skatepark in Lake Forest (One of the biggest skateparks is North America) They recorded only TWELVE injuries. TWLEVE! You may be right that a skatepark won’t stop “street” skating indefinitely, as “street” skating is part of the nature skateboarding and will always be a factor. But what about road bicyclists? Do they not posses the same if not MORE of a threat to pedestrians and vehicle traffic than your recreational skateboarder? Does our tax dollars not make up the cost to paint special lanes on every public road way in an attempt to off set the hazards? Do bicyclists continue to go outside these special lanes and cause dangers to themselves and others?

      In closing, the benefits of a properly built skatepark is proven to stimulate the local economy and offers a greater ROI more than any other city or private park. Take a look at the local business up and down PCH. Per capita we have more surf and skate shops and a community body that engages in a active and outdoor lifestyle than any other sport or hobby. In other words, how many baseball, basketball, football, hockey, bicycle etc… retailers do you see in Dana Point? Compare the number of these “traditional” sports facilities to their direct contribution to Dana’s local economy and one will begin to ask, “Why do these facilities get included in a cities parks plan, but not skateparks?” Why do our surrounding cities build parks that require Dana Point locals to drive high milages and spend money on food and gas in other cities?

      I strongly believe that the City Council has lost touch with its community and has tried to make excuses like, “The city has accepted the fact that we just don’t have space available to accommodate a skatepark.” This is a lazy response. We have researched the Parks and Rec’s plans and know that there is ample space to accommodate skateboarders and spectators.

      If you would like to stay updated with the Skatepark Of Dana Point, please follow us on Facebook and Instagram at:

      http://www.facebook.com/skateparkofdanapoint
      @skatepark_of_danapoint

      Thank you for your time,

      Skatepark Of Dana Point

      • Dan Heredia
        June 13, 2014 at 7:32 am #

        Well stated skatepark of DanaPoint . This project is long overdue. The City Council should seriously cooperate in placing this project on fast track . Sea Terrace Park would make the perfect location.

  6. Betty Hill
    June 12, 2014 at 6:54 pm #

    Perhaps the city of Dana Point would consider allowing a skate board facility on the portion of the Lantern Bay park that the Doheny Hotel developer wants to use as an entrance to his hotel. Development of the park would be the hotel’s contribution to the community. That location is very centrally located and near the state beach used by so many families.

  7. Dan Heredia
    June 13, 2014 at 7:45 am #

    Very well stated skatepark of Dana Point.

  8. SKATEPARK OF DANA POINT
    June 16, 2014 at 10:17 am #

    Dan and Betty,

    Thank you for your support. It is very important the community keeps knocking on the City Council’s door. Keep sending in letters, commenting on these posts and sharing your thoughts with others to grow the support. The council can not flat out ignore the needs of it’s community for too much longer.

    Community supported, community built!

    Skatepark of Dana Point.

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