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Skateboarders make 'last' push for concrete playground 

San Luis Obispo skaters have been working for years to raise money and draft plans for a sweet concrete skate park filled with smooth bowls, rails, and ramps to replace the deteriorating wooden one that now occupies Santa Rosa Park, but time may be running out. Organizers have distributed a flier for what they’ve dubbed “The Last Chance Rally for SLO Skate Park.”

Eli Stein, a lead skating activist and assistant manager at Coalition skate shop, said the project will lose a $20,000 grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation if construction on the park doesn’t begin within six months. That figure won’t nearly cover the total estimated costs (roughly $2 million), he said, but to lose it would be a huge step backward. Over the last six years, supporters have raised just $30,000 in donations, and the city has spent $500,000 drafting plans and writing grant proposals. Still, nothing’s been built.

“People lose hope and momentum ’cause there’s no progress,” Stein said. “It’s not real to people.”

He admitted that the Tony Hawk grant won’t save or destroy the project on its own, but he worried that if construction doesn’t start soon, it may be delayed for years. The city has been supportive of the project and skaters are more than willing to accept a final product that’s scaled down from their 15,000-square-foot dream.

The rally is scheduled for 4 to 5 p.m. on Jan. 3, followed by a night skate session until 8 p.m. at Santa Rosa Skate Park. According to the flier, there will be free pizza and raffle prizes. The goal is to inform skateboarders about the community forum that the San Luis Obispo City Council is holding at Ludwick Community Center on Jan. 8 to seek public input on priorities for the 2013-15 Financial Plan. Organizers hope that strong, informed support from skate boarders could convince the city council to fund the remainder of the project.

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