A temporary skate park opened in Estero Park last Tuesday in lieu of the permanent structure the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District hopes to construct.

The park, a smaller version of the planned permanent facility, cost $5,000. The temporary skating venue will be open to the community until the district obtains a permit for the larger park, which will eventually occupy 10,000 to 20,000 square feet. The future skate park is projected to cost $1 million.

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While the I.V. Recreation and Parks Dept. continues to raise the funds necessary for the construction of a permanent structure, the current skate park setup will be open just three days a week.

Paul LeSage, the general manager of the IVRPD, said an expansive skate park is in high demand in the Isla Vista community.

“The permanent skate park is truly needed,” LeSage said. “It will be in ground with bowls and rails and the things you would typically see in a skate park … It will be a costly project but something needed for the community.”’

Although the permanent park will cost an estimated $35 per square foot to build, LeSage said the costs match the expected popularity of the new park. The IVRPD hopes the park will bring the community together through a common interest of skateboarding, and expects that the park will be well received.

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Estero Park now hosts a set of rails and ramps, but the community skate park project still needs permit approval from the county.

Second-year geography major Tommy Stiles, who currently lives near Estero Park, said the temporary facility offers a positive alternative activity to I.V. residents.
“I feel like it’s an excellent addition to the community,” Stiles said. “I would come here every day because it’s really convenient.”

Stiles, however, said he doubted the goal to create a permanent park will be a fundraising success.

“I don’t think it’s realistic,” Stiles said. “I don’t think they’ll be able to muster up a million dollars.”

Despite concerns about the project’s cost, LeSage said the IVRPD is confident it will make a permanent skate park a reality in Isla Vista.

“We are aware that there are problems with the surface underneath it,” LeSage said.  “That’s something we can work on.”

The skate park is open from 3 to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. A limited amount of safety gear is available to borrow.