A rough ride for skaters at San Luis Obispo park

City Council likely to again address plan to rebuild dilapidated park for $2 million

acornejo@thetribunenews.comJanuary 13, 2013 

Proponents of a new skate park in San Luis Obispo are once again asking the City Council to make it a priority.

In 2009, the council approved a master plan for a new skate facility at Santa Rosa Park, but the project has had little traction over the years.

The existing 6,000-square-foot, above-ground park is cobbled together from modular equipment purchased by the city and local donations.

The new park as envisioned would expand to a 15,000-square-foot, in-ground concrete park with bowls and other elements that skateboarders say would open opportunities for more skaters to participate.

“The park we have right now is what we have been forced to have,” said Eli Stein, 24, who works at Coalition skate shop in downtown San Luis Obispo. “The modular equipment is a plastic composite and some metal, which gets sharp edges and ruins boards. We see ruined boards at the shop daily.”

City officials say that the more than $2 million price of the new park is what has prevented it from being built.

The city has about $973,000 budgeted for the new park, which includes a grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation.  Hawk is a well-known professional skateboarder.

The city has sought additional grant money in past years but has been unsuccessful.

Revised plans to build the skate park in phases will likely go before the City Council sometime this year. 

Jonny Miller, a Los Osos resident and professional skater, said he has spent the past 12 years trying to make it happen.

“There was a time that the skateboard community was huge here and growing,” Miller said. “The fact that San Luis Obispo has become so hard on skaters, it has lost some momentum.”

Miller, who also gives skating lessons, said skateboarding can be a positive outlet for youths.

“It’s a way to teach a kid to better himself in life and school by using the same characteristics and traits used to learn a trick on a skateboard,” Miller said.

The existing park is only used by street skaters, Miller said, but a concrete park would open the doors to skaters of all styles.

“We have been trying to raise money for years, and we still aren’t anywhere close,” said Miller, who has grown frustrated with the project’s slow pace.

“San Luis Obispo is one of the greatest towns on the Central Coast — it’s supposed to be one of the happiest places in the country,” Miller said. “But new bars downtown are getting all the love, and there is nothing being done for the kids.”

Reach AnnMarie Cornejo at 781-7939. Stay updated by following @a_cornejo on Twitter.

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