Expanding dream for skate park

The Cayucos Skate Park is all about the kids — the generation growing up and the generation of adults still passionate about keeping in shape and enjoying their sport. The park is currently expanding with a major remodel, using an all-volunteer community effort designed to give kids purpose — something to do to stay out of trouble and enjoy as they thrash through their youthful years.

About 10 years ago, Arley Robinson, manager of the Cayucos Veterans Hall for the Lion’s Club, which oversees the property for the county, offered Ethan Bettencourt, Landon Cloward and Joel Duganne a challenge: to build a skateboard ramp in the parking lot.

“The skateboarders needed a place to skate,” Robinson said, “and we managed an unused piece of land. It was close to the beach, a place the kids would find.”

In between establishing careers, the young men built a basic half-pipe to attract all levels of skateboarders. They held auctions, rummage sales and barbecues to pay for it. They weathered the few complaints that the activity was too noisy. They understood their efforts were appreciated by the target group — the kids in the community.

Bettencourt said there was a movement to relocate the ramp to land near the cemetery, but the economic downturn scrapped the county-funded project and allowed them to expand in their present location.

“This is a good example of how this community supports its young people,” he said. “People come by and bring food or volunteer to help. The Lions through Arley have provided the lumber to make it (the remodel) happen. Lynn Hodgkinson teaches the Cayucos Tappers and donates all the tuition to the Lions, and they’ve designated her donation to improve our skateboard park. Several others are anonymous supporters.”

Bettencourt says the expansion will make the park bigger, better and easier to maintain so “more boarders can enjoy it at the same time.”

They hope to have it completed by June, but they only have Saturdays and evenings to work on it. Cloward is a mechanical engineer with Joslyn Sunbank, Duganne is a journeyman electrician with Cayucos Electric and Bettencourt owns and operates Bettencourt Electric and is still involved in Bacon Skateboards, which originated in Cayucos before relocating to Portland.

“The Cayucos Skate Park is stepping it up,” Cloward said. “Usually, only large, privately-owned parks offer what we do, and our skate park is open to the public and free.”

“This is a dream I was given to help build this,” Duganne said. “Skateboarding is like meditation, and it’s kept me out of trouble.”

They all agreed, “Skater-built is skater-approved.”

Reach Judy at 801-1422 or jsalamacha@yahoo.com.