San Luis Obispo to break ground on $2.2 million skate park

acornejo@thetribunenews.comApril 16, 2014 

A new $2.2 million skate park designed to appeal to skaters of all skill levels will break ground in San Luis Obispo at the end of May.

The San Luis Obispo City Council awarded the $1.7 million construction contract to ProWest Constructors of Wildomar on Tuesday. The long awaited project will replace the dilapidated skate park at Santa Rosa Park.

The new park, which will be more than twice the size of the old one, will include a flat section for urban skaters, a long bowl area for beginners and two deeper bowls for people who like to do aerial moves.

“Our existing skate park doesn’t meet the needs of everyone,” said Shelly Stanwyck, parks and recreation director. “As we were creating the master plan for the new park there was great camaraderie amongst generations and people of all different skill sets.”

The skate park’s design also includes a $240,000 public art component. Four 24-foot concrete and steel trees, which will be used as shade structures, will be incorporated into the design. Local artists Jed Joyce and John Jones were awarded that contract on Tuesday.

The metal canopies of the trees will have skate orientated words cut out of them that will cast a show of the words onto the park’s concrete. The original design of the skate park had included shade structures that would have used shade cloths. Joyce and Jones transformed that idea into the artistic trees. The concrete base of the trees, shaped like tree trunks, will be used as a skating surface.

“The whole concept is neat and hip,” Stanwyck said.

Other art elements include artistic tiles along the edge of one of the bowls and art stencils throughout the facility.

The new skate park has been a long time coming.

In 2006, members of the skate community petitioned the council to make it a priority. In 2009, the council approved a master plan for the new skate facility, but the project has had little traction over the years because of its hefty price tag.

The existing 6,000-square-foot above-ground park, built in 1994, is cobbled together from modular equipment purchased by the city and local donations. The new park will be much larger, about out 15,000 square feet.

The City Council made the skate park a major city goal in the city’s 2013-15 budget and dedicated $1.2 million in Measure Y revenue, money gained by the city’s half-percent sales tax increase, to the project. In addition to the $1.7 million construction contract for the skate park, design costs, materials testing, and construction management account for the rest of the $2.2 million price tag.

The public art is being paid for from a public art fund that collects in lieu fees from developers and city projects.

The existing skate park will stay open through the end of May but close once construction on the new facility begins. The project is expected to be complete by December.

Santa Rosa Park is also getting new playground equipment in that timeframe.

Stanwyck said the Parks and Recreation Department is already working on programs that will introduce skate classes and activities specifically for girls.

“There are some skate parks that get used predominately by boys and we will be making it friendly for all,” said Stanwyck. “We are excited for the opportunity to start as inclusive as possible and we really can’t wait to see people skating.”

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

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