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Beyond Botox: SLO skate park will get full-scale facelift 

More than a 100 skaters showed up for the May 20 SLO City Council meeting to show support as the council voted to redesign and update the Santa Rosa Skate Park.

click to enlarge FIGHT FOR THE RIGHT TO OLLIE:  Skaters swarmed SLO City Hall on May 20 and were rewarded for their civic activism with a City Council pledge to pay to design a bigger and better skate park at Santa Rosa Park. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • FIGHT FOR THE RIGHT TO OLLIE: Skaters swarmed SLO City Hall on May 20 and were rewarded for their civic activism with a City Council pledge to pay to design a bigger and better skate park at Santa Rosa Park.
At council chambers, kids and teenagers literally filled the seats, lined the walls, and spilled into the lobby outside.

The council approved up to $50,000 to fix the decaying wood-based structures that currently pass for a skate park at Santa Rosa Park. The wood-structured park is only eight years old, but it has been exposed to the elements year-round and subjected to considerable abuse by its users.

The money came from up to $120,000 that had already been slated for improvements, thanks in part to sales tax funds gathered through Measure Y.

But in the most recent vote, council members opted for a band-aid approach that will make the park “safe” until a new one is built. The remainder of the original money will go toward building a new in-ground cement skate park, which is what supporters had been seeking.

It won’t come cheap, though. The council approved another $37,000 to develop a master plan for the new facility. The full cost of the project is unknown; it will depend on the size and complexity of the park, but current estimates range from $533,250 to $1,267,950.

The base figure would produce a park that’s around 8,000 square feet. The larger estimate is for an 18,000-square-foot park. Both estimates include supporting amenities, administrative, design, permit, and escalation costs, as well as basic construction costs. For comparison, the Los Osos Skate Park is 17,000 square feet.

John Bruzenak, a manager and skate buyer at Coalition in SLO, helped organize many of the kids who showed up. He called the meeting’s tone “100 percent positive,” without the negative stereotyping that often gets pinned to skaters.

“It was above and beyond what we could have hoped for,” Bruzenak said.

In the months leading up to the vote, city staffers have met with local skaters twice and enlisted designers at RRM Design, who gave a presentation at the meeting, to study the needs a park should address. The group identified three main design elements for a future park: street features; transitional features, such as bowls; and signature features.

By 7:30 that evening, most of the skaters were gone from the City Council chambers. In their wake was a single sheet of salmon-colored paper, from organizers, with info about the protocol for council meetings. Twice, underlined, were the instructions: “Be Respectful.”

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