After 10 years of planning, the creation of a skate park in Estero Park is inching toward fruition.
The Isla Vista Recreation & Park District is looking to raise funds for the 17,000 square foot project, which is expected to cost around $100,000. A date of construction has not been set, though temporary skating equipment is already in place at the park.
District manager Paul LeSage said approval for the project is necessary before building can begin.
“There are two parts to the cost,” LeSage said. “There is the design and engineering and there is the building permit. We have a couple of leads on a grant, we have a line on a few donors, and if not, we will use grass roots, raising money where we can from the community.”
Construction cannot begin until plans are approved by the California Coastal Commission, a statewide regulatory board that manages coastal land. LeSage said any concerns raised by the Commission could slow down plans.
“It’s hard to tell exactly when it will be done,” LeSage said. “Once construction does start, it shouldn’t take more than six months to complete. It’s just harder to get through the permit issues than it is to construct it.”
The IVRPD first approved plans for construction last July.
Isla Vista is home to a fairly large skateboard community, evidenced by construction of a skateboard lane on the UCSB campus late last year. The community, however, has no permanent skating facility.
Sophomore film & media studies major Sam Jae said a skate park is badly needed in the community.
“Skaters in Isla Vista need to voice their wants and needs for a place where they can skate without getting hassled by the police,” Jae said. “The city of I.V. would get more recognition as a city with a great skate park instead of a city of drunken college students.”
According to LeSage, Anisq’ Oyo’ Park was considered as a potential site for the skate park, but was rejected after it was determined to be too close to busy intersections. The IVRPD decided Estero would be a safer area and have fewer noise restrictions.
LeSage said plans to build a skate park in Isla Vista have been considered for a decade.
“Skateboarding is a very popular activity here; it appeals to teens,” LeSage said. “Our job is to provide recreational programs for the local youth, and a skate park would benefit a huge number of people here in Isla Vista.”
Second-year biology major Joel Kirksey said he believes a skate park would have broad appeal.
“Many of the students here surf and board regularly, so a new skate park would allow students to board there during times when the beach is just too cold, or the waves aren’t good enough to surf.”