Jeremy Ogul | Editor
The grassroots effort to build a new skate park in Linda Vista cleared its biggest hurdle in early February: a vote by the Linda Vista Recreation Council.
The council, made up of community volunteers, voted 10-2 in favor of amending Linda Vista Community Park’s General Development Plan to allow the skate park to be built in the northwest corner of the park, on approximately 38,682 square feet near the intersection of Genesee Avenue and Osler Street.
From here, specific details of the skate park plan will be reviewed and modified by two subcommittees of the city’s Park and Recreation Board; the final plan will then be reviewed and approved by the Park and Recreation Board. City staff hope to have all those approvals completed by May so that a construction contractor can be selected by the end of this year. Construction would be complete by the end of 2016.
The city of San Diego already operates five public skate parks, but the Linda Vista facility could become its crown jewel. Its size and features will make it a “world-class” facility, said Jaxon Statzell, lead designer with SITE Design Group.
The park’s signature element will be a full-pipe with a diameter of 19 feet. San Diego has nothing like it, and the only comparable full-pipe Southern California is in Upland, which has one with a diameter of 20 feet.
Another notable feature is a pro-level bowl, which resembles an empty pool rimmed with pipes. What makes it pro-level is its size — 50 feet wide and as deep as 10.5 feet— which is uncommon in public skate parks.
The city is paying for the design and construction of the park with a $4.6 million grant from the state Department of Housing and Community Development. Approximately $3 million of that grant is dedicated to the Linda Vista skate park; the other $1.46 million is dedicated to a smaller skate park in City Heights.
The several dozen skaters young and old who showed up to the meeting seemed pleased with the proposed designs.
“I actually really like it,” said Jovannie Ruiz, a 17-year-old Linda Vista resident. “It feels really good actually that now we have somewhere to go and not get kicked out.”
While a majority of the Recreation Council supports the skate park, there are some who have concerns about its potential impact on the neighborhood.
Dottie Perez, a member of the Recreation Council, said Linda Vista Community Park does not have adequate restroom facilities to support the additional crowds the skate park will bring. A portion of the $3 million budget will be spent on accessibility upgrades to an existing restroom at the park, but it won’t add any additional toilets. Perez suggested public urination could become a problem without additional toilets.
John Cheney, who owns 36 apartment units just west of the proposed site of the skate park, said his low-income tenants will be disproportionately impacted by noise and nighttime lights if the skate park is built.
“If you live next to that alley, your quality of life is about to take a dive,” Cheney said.
Landscape architect Glen Schmidt said noise studies from a similar skate park in Huntington Beach suggest that noise will be within acceptable levels. The study measured noise at 67 decibels 10 feet from the park and at 54 decibels 120 feet from the park.
The residential buildings are at least 150 feet away from the edge of the skate park features.
“Our target is to be under 70 decibels,” Schmidt said.
Linda Vista Recreation Council Chair Doug Beckham said the group would consider naming the park after Frank and Nancy Hawk — Tony Hawk’s parents — at a future meeting.
The next subcommittee meeting of the Park and Recreation Board will be held March 4.
—Reach Jeremy Ogul by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.