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Setback for skate park 

Local skaters and park officials raising money for a concrete skate park in San Luis Obispo were denied a major grant—just the latest setback in what has become a long, frustrating process to upgrade the deteriorating park.


On Oct. 23, SLO Parks and Recreation officials learned the city wasn’t awarded a $200,000 grant from the Pacific Forest and Watershed Lands Stewardship Council, which would have defrayed half the funds still needed for constructing the park.


“It would have been wonderful,” Parks and Recreation Director Betsy Kiser said. “But unfortunately these grants are very competitive. I think ours was an appropriate request, but it seems these grants tend to go to more urban and lower-income areas.”


Director of Youth Investment Programs for the Stewardship Council, Steve Hagler, told New Times they received more than 80 applicants this year for the infrastructure grants but had the budget to award only six.


Kiser said the city applied for a $25,000 grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation on Oct.1 and should receive word in a few weeks. Early next year, it will apply for funds from 2006’s Proposition 84, the statewide bond initiative providing $5.4 billion for improving parks and water safety.


After the city council voted for the redesign last year, the park’s splintering wooden ramps were patched up until funding could be realized for the replacement. Earlier this year, the city approved a master plan for the 15,000-square-foot, $1.4-million, in-ground concrete park drawn up by RRM Design Group.


According to Kiser, $900,000 has been supplied through Parkland Development funding, leaving roughly $400,000 to be raised from grants and local donations.


Jono Hicks, owner of SLO-based clothing store Coalition, who’s been driving grassroots fundraising efforts, said, “This is going to come down to grants and large donors because so far we’ve been relying on the local skate community and we’ve kind of tapped out on those guys. I mean, this has been going on for years.” The movement will hold an art auction from 6 to 9 p.m. on Nov. 6, at Coalition at 974 Monterey St. in downtown SLO.

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