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By Andrea Swayne

After discussion and public comments regarding a community movement aimed at getting a skatepark built in Dana Point, the City Council on Tuesday, directed staff to reach out to neighboring jurisdictions to examine possible non-city-owned sites.

The movement to get a skatepark gained steam after the dozens of supporters of the community organization Skatepark of Dana Point spoke at a council meeting in March. Then at the July 1 meeting, the council directed staff to prepare a report on the feasibility of building a skate park at possible sites in town.

The study concluded that construction of a basic 4,000-square foot park would cost around $150,000, or between $35 and $40 per square foot. Larger parks with concrete bowls and other elements average between 30,000 to 40,000 square feet at a total cost of $800,000 to $1,200,000.

The staff report also referred to a 2003 study that listed a skatepark low on the list of recreation facility needs.

Four members of the public spoke in favor of the skatepark, urging councilmembers to address the need for a safe place for kids to skate and panning the use of the “outdated” 2003 report. They also criticized the city’s reference to its parks as “passive” and stressed the need for “active” space for city youth. They also reminded councilmembers of skateboarding’s part in the city’s surf/skate history and culture.

City Manager Doug Chotkevys said the city is essentially a built-out community with limited recreational facilities and directed staff to examine the feasibility of siting a skatepark on land owned by the city of San Juan Capistrano at the Lower Rosan property just south of Stonehill Drive, the South Coast Water District’s 30 acres, the Capistrano Unified School District bus barn area or Doheny State Beach.

Councilman Scott Schoeffel asked for a detailed analysis of what it actually takes to build and maintain a skatepark.

Mayor Pro Tem Steven Weinberg suggested a skatepark could be profitable enough to attract a private owner to build on private land.

Councilman Carlos Olvera quipped Doheny State Beach was given to the state by a private owner and the city could say, “All we want is 4,000 square feet of it back.”

The item will be agendized at a future City Council meeting. The next meeting is set for Oct. 7 although it was not specified if this item will appear on that agenda.

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