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Collin Breaux, Dana Point Times 

Seattle-based company Grindline Skateparks, Inc. will design the new skateboard park for San Juan Capistrano, construction of which could begin by the end of this year.

San Juan Capistrano city councilmembers approved a service agreement with Grindline Skateparks during a meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 19. City Manager Ben Siegel said the decision is an “important milestone” for the long-awaited project.

The skate park will be on city-owned farmland adjacent to the town’s sports park and community center—land that is currently operated by The Ecology Center. The area has been locally known as Kinoshita Farms, and people will be able to enter the skate park from the sports park. Local skaters and residents have advocated for a skate park in San Juan for years, and a local nonprofit coalition has regularly organized Skate Jam events in town to raise funds and awareness for that mission.

Dana Point will fund a portion of maintenance costs for the skate park, under a previous agreement reached between the two cities. The park site is near the San Juan/Dana Point border. San Juan Councilmember Sergio Farias thanked Dana Point city officials for their assistance and support with the project, saying the skate park will benefit residents of both towns.

“People in both of our cities want to get this done,” Farias said.

Photo: San Juan Capistrano’s upcoming skate park is expected to be built near the town’s sports park and community center. Graphic: Courtesy of the City of San Juan Capistrano.

Grindline’s proposed fees are $116,357, and the agreement is not to exceed $127,992. Final design services and project construction are currently budgeted at approximately $3.4 million.

A mayoral subcommittee for the skatepark—comprised of Councilmember Troy Bourne, Mayor Pro Tem Derek Reeve and city staff—recommended going with Grindline Skateparks after reviewing plans from firms during a request for proposals. Reeve was not at Tuesday’s meeting.

“In honor of our Mayor Pro Tem, who’s not here tonight, who’s worked so hard on this, as well as Councilmember Bourne, I just want to say thank you to Derek Reeve and to Councilmember Bourne for a dream that I think we’ve been wanting in this community for a long time,” Mayor John Taylor said.

In other meeting news, the council heard a Historic Depiction Program report, which mentioned Chick-fil-A paying a $12,730 fee in lieu of putting up a historic interpretation of the city’s heritage at its new Del Obispo Street location. A publicly accessible historic depiction is generally required of new development projects, under a city policy adopted in 1996.

“We’re just holding that. We’ve reserved that in a separate account, so it doesn’t get aggregated in the general fund,” Siegel said of what will happen with the $12,730, after Taylor asked about it. “It’s available for future council appropriation.”

Resident Rich Heimann, who had previously advocated for more public art, again spoke about the importance of visible artistic displays in San Juan during the discussion. Taylor asked Siegel about next steps related to Heimann’s request.

“If the council is interested in a proposal, potentially from Mr. Heimann and his organization, if they direct staff to work with him to prepare a report for the Cultural Heritage Commission, receive feedback from that commission, and then return with more information to the city council at a later date, we’d be happy to do that,” Siegel said.

The council also approved a general plan amendment that effectively repeals the Historic Town Center Master Plan, following the Historic Town Center Master Plan causing confusion due to discrepancies with existing city policies that officials said had led to litigation against the city. A first reading of an ordinance detailing the repeal was held during a Dec. 7 council meeting.

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