The Cambrian

Cambria skate park closed for renovations; options considered for old CSD-owned house

A couple of more obscure repair jobs are among the many chores on the to-do lists for Cambria Community Services District staffers.

Preliminary work at one of those sites — the informal and currently closed Cambria skate park — is already underway, under the direction of the CCSD board and the Parks Recreation and Open Space Commission.

Dave Pierson, president of the CCSD Board of Directors, said Oct. 1 during the board’s Oct. 17 meeting that he expects a verbal update on the skate park situation from Steve Kniffen, PROS chairman.

Neither John Weigold, CCSD general manager, or Carlos Mendoza, resources and facilities supervisor, have an estimated cost estimate or reopening date yet for the skating facility, they said in early October.

Weigold said Oct. 2 that “we are making some necessary repairs, but (have) no specific date for reopening.”

Mendoza said Oct. 3 that the skate park was closed “due to concerns over the safety of the two wooden ramps. CCSD staff started with the small ramp. We removed the top layer (skatelite) and found the plywood underneath was just as bad. Many of the studs were also rotten.”

Based on that information, he said, “The decision was made to dismantle and remove this small ramp.

“We then moved over to the larger ramp and started removing the top layer. This ramp is also showing the same issues as the smaller one,” Mendoza reported, estimating that “it will be at least another month before we can get back to the skate park and continue exposing the wood. Once we have the framing fully exposed, we can make a determination of how much it will cost in materials and labor,” and the decision-makers can determine how much they’re willing to invest and when.

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Cambria skate park. CAMBRIAN PHOTO BY BERT ETLING

CCSD considers options for old house on Van Gordon Creek

No decision has been made yet on what the district should do with a 1,600-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath two-story house on Van Gordon Creek. The house sits on a large parcel of land owned by the district, along with an outbuilding and a storage building.

Weigold said, “We are gathering costs for various options per the board direction.”

The structures are in rough shape and the house has reportedly been illegally used by trespassing vagrants and the homeless, a situation that’s been troublesome for the district and the neighboring State Park campground and other facilities.

“However, State Park rangers have assisted in keeping the homeless from camping out there,” according to a Sept. 12 CCSD staff report.

The report continued, “CCSD staff has begun the process to improve the security of the property and discourage unwanted occupants. This includes weed abatement of the area around the house, boarding up the doors and windows and installing a temporary fence.”

What next?

On Sept. 12, the board directed staff to present further details at a future meeting. Among the options Weigold had presented were:

No action: Clean up and secure the property to avoid damage (in progress). No significant costs other than materials, as most work will be completed by staff.

Renovate: In 2013, a contractor assessed the property and provided an estimate of $131,434 to remodel the property making it suitable for occupancy. The house requires demolition down to the studs, but mechanical systems and the kitchen are largely intact with limited work required. Potential uses include: housing for on-call operators; housing for staff (with a modest rent to attract talent); housing to create revenue for the CCSD; or shelter/housing for the homeless.

Demolition: In 2017, the Phillips house was demolished on the Fiscalini Ranch at a cost of $16,000. No estimate for the Van Gordon property has been obtained at this time, therefore the cost is for comparison only. Additionally, the Cambria Fire Department could use the house for training purposes prior to demolition.

Sale: Sell the property, or transfer ownership to State Parks. (No discussions have taken place to determine interest from the State.)

The report noted that the property has two water meters, and one or both could be sold. If one was sold, the money raised could be used to renovate of property. If both water meters were sold, monies raised could be applied to a project selected by the board and general manager.

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