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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