The Isla Vista Recreation and Park District (IVRPD) is ramping up its plans to build a skate park in I.V., as funding for the project begins to roll in.

IVRPD Director Diane Conn said the IVRPD has already collected $317,000 for the project and hopes to build the $800,000 skate park by 2008. Conn said $30,000 of the money for the park came from the Santa Barbara County Redevelopment Agency, and the rest from funds set aside by Propositions 12 and 40. IVRPD board members voted to build the skate park, which will be set on the northeast corner of Estero Park and Camino Del Sur, in May 2005. The district still needs to raise an additional $475,000 before it can afford to tackle the project.

Before construction begins on the new skate park, a component of the I.V. Master Plan, the IVRPD must finalize all the details of the plan, Conn said.

“The board is gathering information, looking at cutting some of the fundraising, thinking about maintenance and oversight, and other liability issues,” Conn said. “There are a lot of things that have to go through evaluation.”

Conn said the IVRPD must also complete an Environmental Impact for the planned park. She said the report will map out the benefits and drawbacks of the project and address issues such as the potential removal of oak trees from the land on which the skate park will sit.

“It’s just antithetical for IVRPD to be taking down oak trees that have been around for a long time,” Conn said.

There are many security issues that also need to be addressed before construction on the park can begin, I.V. Foot Patrol Lieutenant Sol Linver said.

“It’s important for the park to be well-managed,” Linver said. “The hours need to be established, and liability needs to be considered. They’ll definitely need controls and monitors for this kind of thing.”

Third District Supervisor Brooks Firestone said it is the IVRPD’s responsibility to monitor safety in the skate park, although he said he feels the park will be good for the community’s reputation.

“The park is a great way to build a positive community in Isla Vista,” Firestone said. “Reducing the ‘party’ reputation the town has and all the publicity it brings is just one way the community can help out.”

IVRPD General Manager Derek Johnson said the district does not have to pay an architect for the skate park because Mike Taylor, who owns a skateboard business in Goleta, agreed to design the park for free.

Taylor, who has designed over 300 skate parks in 17 states and four countries, said he agreed to do the project because he wants to support the IVRPD’s efforts to make the project happen.

“Derek Johnson contacted me and told me about the project,” Taylor said, “When I heard about it being so local, I said I’d do it for free, just to get it done.”

Once it is complete, the skate park will be fit for use by both beginning and advanced skaters, Johnson said. He said Taylor’s expertise ensures that the park will appeal to skaters of all ability levels.

“We’ve got a world-class skateboard park designer who has built skateboarding parks all over the world,” Johnson said.

On Saturday, Oct. 15, the IVRPD will host an event to raise the additional money it needs to build the park and to get the word out to the community about the project. The event will be held in Anisq’ Oyo’ Park and will feature local bands and a booth where residents can view Taylor’s plans for the park.