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Isla Vista On Board with Concept of Skate Park

Discussion at a community workshop centers on location, with noise a concern and many supporting a downtown site

It’s a project that has been talked about for at least a decade, but after a public workshop Thursday night to explore the possibility of a skate park in Isla Vista’s Estero Park, it could be awhile before skaters see any ramps or halfpipes.

Of the several dozen people who gathered to contribute input, most liked the idea of a skate park. Just not in Estero Park. Or near their homes.

Noise seemed to be the dominant concern, and the idea of relocating the park to a downtown location was a key discussion point. In the end, the board unanimously voted to get more information on both sites and poll nearby downtown merchants. After that, the project will be brought back to the board for review.

Provisions for a skate park at Estero Park are included in several documents, including the Estero Master Plan, which was approved last year, and the Isla Vista Master Plan.

The Estero plan also provides for a basketball court, a soccer field and a community center. Carol Belser, general manager of the Isla Vista Recreation & Park District, said the cost of building the park would be about $595,000, but could run as high as $800,000, depending on the amenities, and would be paid for by Proposition 40 bond funds and fundraising.

Santa Barbara’s Skater’s Point park is about 14,000 square feet and cost about $830,000 to build. Its designer, Mike Taylor, is also working to design the Isla Vista park and has spent several hundred hours working on this project, all free of charge to the district. Taylor, who was at Thursday’s meeting, said he had been to hundreds of skate park workshops and has designed just as many parks.

“The ‘not in my backyard’ people show up every time, and they usually have the same concerns,” he said. “And after the skate park goes in, they usually flip-flop and they see the skate parks as an asset.

“The usage is through the roof,” he said of California’s many skate parks. “You live next to a park? Guess what? There’s going to be a soccer game, there’s going to be noise. Skateboarding noise isn’t any higher than the noise that’s already going on in the park.”

Belser cited a noise study during a presentation conducted by the Skatepark Association of America. Studies the organization conducted at a Santa Monica park showed noise levels of 64 to 78, noise the study said would equate to “a conversation, a dishwasher or daily traffic,’” she said.

Trish McKenna, a landlord at the nearby Silverwood Apartments, said the owner of the building was concerned he might lose renters because of noise complaints. “I am not against people who want to skate, but I think the downtown is a better location,” she said.

Both locations being considered, Estero Park and People’s and Perfect parks downtown, are owned by the park’s district, which helps considerably in the planning process, Belser said. “Location is key, and if we don’t get the location right, we’re going to be facing hurdles down the road,” she said.

Several people voiced concern that exploring a downtown location could set back the project even further. Taylor said it took 12 years to build the Santa Barbara skate park.

“My kids weren’t even born yet when we started, and they skated at the grand opening,” he said. “Don’t do that to these guys’ kids. They need it now.”

“I’ve been skating for many years, and have made many friends. That’s what these kids are looking for,” said Mike Pizano, a skater and Ellwood resident. “They need something here in Isla Vista.”

Board member Bruce Murdock said that of the 29 people who spoke, more people supported a downtown location, which he also agreed with. He suggested that the business tenants most likely would be in favor of the nearby park because it would increase foot traffic. “If I were a merchant, I’d say, ‘Yeah, bring it on,’” he said.

Board chairwoman Diane Conn said she liked Estero because it was in a location accessible to kids, and that “the noise is much less of an issue than people think.” But she also said People’s Park is one of the most underutilized downtown parks.

“I’m not going to commit to a downtown site if it’s going to set us back, but if we can move forward in the same time frame, then I’m leaning for the downtown location,” she said. “I think it will be a more useful site.”

The board plans to revisit the issue at its August meeting.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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» on 07.24.09 @ 11:51 AM

Why do you always show a picture of someone at the skate park not wearing a helmet?  Did you know that there is a rule that requires everyone (not just kids) to wear a helment in the skate park?  No one does until the park ranger pulls up in his truck.  It doesn’t help that the media keeps showing pictures of skaters (and bicyclist for that matter) not wearing helmets.  I guess it’s just luck that there have been no serious injuries resulting from someone not wearing their helmet on city property.

» on 07.24.09 @ 02:09 PM

Noise is a real concern! Just go to the Santa Barbara skateboard park some weekend or any summer afternoon! (It should NEVER have been built at the waterfront.) As for helmets, it’s very very rare to see anyone there wearing a helmet—- almost as rare as seeing a girl using the park!

(To me it’s a real issue whether public funds should go into a facility that is used only by boys. )

» on 07.24.09 @ 03:57 PM

The skate park in Santa Barbara at the beach is a disaster. It is extremely loud, boys screaming expletives, hitting trash cans, throwing skateboards around. Lots of boozing, pot smoking, and cigarette use. The ‘kids’ are often in their 20’s and 30’s with tatts all over their bodies. Probably out on parole. No helmets or pads being worn. Anything with wheels is brought into the skate park and trashed. Little kids get their boards swiped. Water balloons are tossed at cars driving along Cabrillo. Skaters steal food from stores and restaurant tables. You want jerks and trouble - build a skate park.

» on 07.24.09 @ 03:58 PM

About the not wearing a helmet thing.  If you start to learn about the culture of skateboarding… it really is a self discovery of your body, balance, limitations, and abilities.  I have skated my whole life, and I am an advocate for safety and caution.  Merely wearing pads, does not teach anyone anything.  If you want to focus on really dangers in the skate world preach your teachings on proper sun screen use,  the dangers of smoking, proper warm up and stretching, and time management, when balancing free time with productive life responsibilities.  For your argument, we should also make an ordinance punishable by fine, for not wearing shin guards on the soccer field, or mandate wearing life jackets at Rincon so that surfers don’t drown.  I will admit that the park holds its share of total losers, but i have also skated many days with local attorneys, contractors, engineers, city government officials, and parents with kids of their own.

(@ SB MOM) For all you people that read Sports Illustrated, demand that the photographers never take pictures of Olympic Ice skaters, who fail to wear helmets on that dangerous icy and slippery surface that they compete on.  I remember being a pitcher on my baseball team when i was 17.. and got nailed in the side of the head by a line drive and had to get an xray for a possible concussion… you know what come to think of it.. those 70mph baseballs are damn hard.. all sports should wear helmets!  you are right!  (scarcasm intended)

I really think they should ditch the whole IV skate park, who only benefit a transient student and local rugrats…and create a whole family park complex in Goleta ( see Santa Clarita) Open Space, world class skate park, and huge family swimming facility)  make this park close to transit lines.  Where music doesn’t impact the surrounding area and could be shared as a whole Goleta asset.  But Kudos to Mike Taylors effort.

Wake up people.. Skateboarding and BMXing etc.. are becoming the #1 activity for young people today.  To those who think the skatepark should not have been built at the waterfront…. ask millions of tourists who get a front row seat to a sport that originated in the USA and invented in California; which is entirely apart of beach culture.  If any sport is to be highlighted near a beach…skateboarding is the best for tourism.  (If Sb City was smart they would include a blurb or sign (much like they do for the wetlands in the park pointing out the red-legged california salamander that is native to these creekbeds) about the history of skateboarding, the major influence of local companies on this culture…and influence on fashion, music, and lifestyle that is emulated around the nation and world.

» on 07.24.09 @ 06:24 PM

A kid just died hiking yesterday, and a handful of other hikers have had to be rescued so far this year.  I think Hiking should be illegal.  Far too dangerous for any human. 

I can also guarantee that more kids in SB surf/skate than play baseball.  When have you ever seen kids playing a pick up game of baseball at a local park or field? 

As for only boys using the park.  That is hogwash, and there is nothing keeping girls from skating.  How about we close down paseo nuevo, because boys don’t shop and only girls go shopping, lol.

» on 07.24.09 @ 09:23 PM

Carpinteria Skate Foundation, a volunteer non-profit organization, that is trying to have a Skatepark built in Carpinteria is holding a fundraiser Concert and Skate Video Contest tomorrow (Saturday) night at the Carp Arts Center at 855 Linden Ave.

5-8PM Three local bands will be playing
8-10PM Amateur Skate Video Contest with over 10 entries
Beer, Wine, Tacos, Pizza, Silent Auctions, T-shirts and more for more info

» on 07.24.09 @ 11:00 PM

Last I saw, DBD, Paseo Nuevo is not a publicly-supported park, but a mall with private tenants, nothing similar to a skateboard park built at the waterfront with public funds. And as for no helmets and safety gear, well, fine: change the law, then, rather than encouraging a massive amount of scofflaws.

It’s like the gas-powered trash blowers: better not to have the laws and regulations if they’re not going to be enforced.

» on 07.25.09 @ 02:24 AM

Mason mentions BMX as an up and coming sport as well as skating.  Funny how the BMX track at Elings park requires helmets and actually enforces it.  The fact is, there is a rule posted at the skatepark that skaters must wear helmets.  SB Resident is correct in suggesting that if the rule is not going to be enforced then change the rule.  Then everyone can make their own decision on whether or not wearing a helmet is a smart thing to do.

» on 07.25.09 @ 12:03 PM

location, location, location
iv is already too concentrated, why build a magnet for increased densification? ucsb can build their own skate park on campus, just not with my tax dollars. the students are there to learn, not skate. build the skate park instead of a hotel at Girsch park; close to public transport, IV, retail.

helmets and skate culture
i skate regularly, always wear a helmet…I make my living with my brain, kinda seems like a good idea to protect it.
if there was no helmet ordinance there would be no public skate parks. period. its all about the lawyers and liability to the city. if the skaters choose to go helmetless, they are expressing their right to personal freedom. enforcement is not a reality although I really love it when the cops or ranger show up; I just grab my full pads, suit up and have the park to myself for 15 or 20 minutes. parents who allow their minor children to skate unprotected should be fined or something stronger. child protective services might be brought in for repeat offenders. do this a few times and then on a regular basis and at least the kids will wear helmets.

sbresident: that is about the most sexist comment I have seen in a long while. should we shut down the tour de france or amgen’s tour of california because they on public roads and there are no females in the field? sheesh! by the by, there are regular female skaters, just not very many.

Old Skater I’m in my fifties and have no tats and you are way over exaggerating. the drinkers are the hanger outers unconnected with the skate scene, pretty sure I’ve seen some of them haging out at dlg plaza and storke placita, the young transient loser types. THEY ARE NOT SKATERS. I have never seen a skater drink anything stronger than red bull. yes there is the occaisional scent of weed in the air, but from what I’ve seen it is very discreet and not a communal type thing where everyone is passing a joint around.

» on 07.26.09 @ 12:19 PM

We need a skate park in Goleta.  Skating is a great way of expending energy for young men and women.  In the many hours I’ve spent at the SB Skatepark, I’ve ne vr seen a gang issue.  I’d rather have kids skating than just hanging out at the mall or skating on private property.  Skaters are not bad people just because they do a non-traditional sport.  Build a skate park in Goleta!

» on 08.12.09 @ 03:01 PM

The IV skatepark looks like an excellent lay out similar to chino skatepark in san bernadino county. this park needs to be built in estero park, moving it somewhere else in isla vista would only setback a project that is taking to long as it is. As far as the noise issue is concerned its negligible, its a busy street with plenty of vehicle and foot traffic. We are talking about IV folks,UCSB is still a top 10 party school. If their is a noise issue its from the keg parties not the potential skateboard park. A skatepark in the city of goleta is a seperate issue we need both! Goleta is a new city and has a park shortage,camino real, stow park and goleta beach being the only public recreational facilities of any significance. We need a mixed use recreational park, If you need an example check out the city of fontana, they have one of the most unreal mixed use recreational parks I have ever scene. It has a massive skatepark,soccerfields,a covered rollerhockey rink baseball diamonds,etc etc. this whole facility is also lit up with stadium lighting, we skated until 11, epic! Fontana not only has this expansive facility but also has another excellent skatepark on the other side of town,thats right two skateparks in one town. You dont have to look far for a good model little solvang built a skatepark thats excellent.Now if solvang can build a good park, and fontana can build 2 well surely we can figure out a way to build a skatepark to be proud of in goleta the good land. That said Santa Barbara needs a second park. Skaters point hasw a good street area but is seriously lacking in the transition department. The bowl is too small and badly designed on top of that. Sb needs a skatepark midtown, how about elings plenty of room. In a community as wealthy as SB this should not be an issue.Skateboarding is a healthy activity that keeps kids in a safe controlled environment and off the streets.Lets do this thing. ps if you want to check chino,fontana,or solvang skateparks go to concrete its a great site. NOW GO SK8

» on 08.12.09 @ 09:43 PM

I spoke at the meeting, live in IV and have 4 kids who all like to skateboard, and I even skated at Del Mar Skate Ranch and the local Goleta skatepark Sparks in my day! The people at the meeting weren’t Nimbys at all, we supported there being a skatepark in IV and had great suggestions about why downtown IV would be a better choice: closer to UCSB, shops, restaurants, business support, proximity to the Foot Patrol, and the IV Medical Clinic would even be handy right next door if needed. Also there is a parking lot owned by the County (and IV Parks) that could be a perfect spot at the end of the loop which wouldn’t ruin the already beautiful and well used park- Estero. Why pave over a park that has organic gardens with a waiting list, a great place for dogs and little kids to run around and play and which is smack dab in the middle of a residential zone? It’s great that Mike Taylor is designing a park for free, but placing it in town where there would be more supervision, exposure, use and no hard feelings from next door neighbors seems to be a win/win. The sound issue is a biggie, especially when the plan was to place it right along the fence of the apartment complex, without their OK. Also IV is fraught already with vandalism, assaults, and just plain drunken partygoers who would likely end up passed out in the bowl of the skatepark. Please listen to us residents who came out to support the concept but want to keep our community parks green and serene and our children safe as well - don’t forget- we will likely be the ones paying for it, and in the downtown heart of IV it could be a big draw.

» on 08.13.09 @ 01:03 AM

Build a skatepark in goleta so students can go to the park and stay out of trouble (skate at schools)

» on 08.17.09 @ 05:54 PM

why are older people (35+) not living within 1 mile of isla vista still commenting here on how loud the IV skatepark is going to be. unless you live here in iv or own a business in iv, your opinion doesnt really matter at all. you will most likely never even go to this skate park if it ever gets built.

» on 01.09.10 @ 06:54 PM

BMX needs to be allowed! They don’t have any legal place to ride. Or at least a few hours a day. What happens is we ride cops show we run.

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