The City of Santa Cruz has a real roller coaster, but
the ups and downs in the history of building a new skatepark has
truly taken our skate community for a ride!
I will keep you posted from the battlefield,
and appreciate input from anyone who wants to get involved. Officer
Jim Howes, of the Santa Cruz Police has been involved since day
one and has offered to give Real Skate a brief history. Jim has
supported skaters long before the proposed new park came about.
He was instrumental in keeping Derby Park alive when a few bad elements
were causing trouble. Also, the park had taken on a second life
by a few non-skater groups using it for partying and whatnot. Opposing
the City's solution, which was to shut it down, Jim met with the
skaters, posted an article in Thrasher and so to speak, gave them
the "shape up or ship out" pep talk. But, most importantly
in his own diplomatic style, showed them how they could "shape
up," by using a very powerful technique called peer pressure,
and suggested policing the park themselves. A sundown curfew quickly
got rid of the partiers.
It all worked out, Derby lives, and
Santa Cruz skaters have proven themselves responsible, and willing
and able to work with community issues. But we've outgrown Derby.
It's a small snake run with a bowl at the end. A fun park, but inadequate
and outdated. There are two major wholesale skate industries in
town, and numerous retail shops, and a HUGE skater population.
Santa Cruz is an active town. Aside
from a skateboard oriented town, it has beaches, an amusement park,
a world surf competition spot, a state university, a junior college,
playgrounds, public parks, swimming pools, hiking and biking trails,
a harbor, and a lively downtown area to name a few. It is a tourist
town; it is not a retirement community or wildlife reserve. Skateparks
belong here, and the locals desperately need them; nuff said.
Santa Cruz City Skatepark History
- by Jim Howes
It Started With A Meeting
Dan Flippo and I asked Jason Strubing to host a meeting at Skateworks.
We felt if he hosted a meeting of skaters there would be a good
turn out. That was April 10, 1996. Too long ago, if you consider
time estimates for building a park. The first meeting included Ken
Wormhoudt, who developed Derby Park and was instrumental in getting
this project off the ground as well.
May 7, 1996 was the second meeting.
We were ready to approach city council on May 14, 1996. We felt
the group was prepared, and they were. No outbursts, a good turnout,
a good presentation by several key speakers, and the council approved
the necessary money. What none of us understood however, was that
the easy part was over and the wait was to begin. It is July 23,
2000 and the wait continues. Many meetings, Environmental Impact
Reports, Coastal Commission Hearings, and more. The price of having
the right to be heard.
I offered to help with a problem-solving
group and suggested that the group be formed immediately. I felt
it would be helpful to address any complaints that came up prior
to breaking ground and after. I suggested additional meetings at
Skateworks and addressed organizing as a group of focused skaters.
I suggested the group contact City Council, Parks and Recreation,
Skate Shops and Manufacturers, Local Surf Shops, Local Politicians,
City Schools, and others. To this day, this has not happened. This
would have taken a great deal of effort I realize, however nothing
worth having doesn't. I suggested a letter-writing campaign, request
visits with Council members and others, present the case, ask for
answers. Interesting to note that those protesting the park have
done that, and continue doing it.
To accomplish anything you must have
an action plan with goals, objectives, and a time line. Tasks must
be identified and assigned. A local skater, "Nat" completed a 15
page school report. This kind of effort should be undertaken by
more skaters and presented to all those representing them who are
in a position to help them. Consolidated
Skateboards and "Moish" completed a 20 page action plan and
posted it on their web site. It has everything from what to do,
petitions, etc. Skaters should take a look. Moish Brenman and I
met with Assemblyman Fred Keeley to discuss Assembly Bill 1296 which
had to do with including skateboarding with other "daredevil"
sports such as parachuting, etc., which reduces or eliminates some,
if not all, liability from cities, etc., who provide a skatepark.
He explained the bill and answered our questions.
Special thanks go to those who worked
on the project and continue to work on the project. Ken Wormhoudt
(RIP) and his son Zach, Susan Harris and Jim Lang from Parks & Recreation,
Moish Brenman, Jason Strubing, and anyone I might have missed. Skaters
must want the park more than those who don't!
Good News at LAST!!!!!!!!! (posted
January, 2000) by clarkie
The proposed skatepark at Neary Lagoon was approved
by the California Coastal Commission. This was the last (we hope)
setback and hoop to jump through thanks to Carol Long who filed
an appeal to the Coastal Commission saying the skatepark would harm
the environment and increase noise.
The City Parks folks would like to
have a community meeting on it's design, (which we thought was already
approved) within the next two weeks, with a goal of opening in August,
2000 . . . blah blah blah
. . . NOT!
(posted August, 2000) by clarkie
She's baaaak! Construction of the skatepark has been
haulted due to a law suit filed by Carol Long against the City of
Santa Cruz and the California Coastal Commission for building a
skatepark. Having not seen the official complaint yet, apparently
Ms. Long feels a skatepark in it's approved location would disturb
the birds who frequent a nearby lagoon. Trust me on this one folks,
the Coastal Commission around here is the big daddy over ANYTHING
getting built. If they say it's a go, then it's a go! The Coastal
Commission, among other environmental groups appointed by the City,
investigated the original complaint from Ms. Long and found it would
have no impact on the local environment.
Until I talk to the local City Attorney,
I don't want to blab about and risk screwing up the defense case.
But, I will keep you posted on everything that can be published,
and let you know if there are any actions we ourselves can take
to help out.