Seeking a Skatepark Somewhere in Pacific Palisades
By JAMES GAGE – Special to Circling the News
At the August 22 Community Council meeting, Palisades High sophomore Max Burger advocated for the construction of a skateboard park in Pacific Palisades.
He suggested, as one possible location, the sloped picnic bowl at the Palisades Recreation Center, just beyond the Palisades Branch Library.
“My passion is skateboarding,” said Burger. “I get to skateparks a lot but I can’t go to the skateparks during weekdays because of homework so I skate around the Palisades and almost everywhere I go I’m trespassing and I get met with hostility… Obviously I’m trying to get a skatepark here. I’ve been told it’s impossible and I’ve been told it’s possible. But people said find a location. I think a really good space would be adjacent to here, near the library.”
L.A. Department of Recreation and Parks Superintendent Daryll Ford spoke about the feasibility of a skatepark in the Palisades, discussing the financial details of past skateboard park construction projects in the city of Los Angeles.
“Location is probably the most important thing to think about when you’re thinking about a skatepark,” said Ford. “Location is important for security, for use, and most of all for noise. The Department has a long history of building skateparks across the city. We just opened two skateparks in the past four months so we do have a lot of experience with skateparks.”
Ford explained the ways in which skatepark construction is funded in the city.
“There’s a variety of different ways we can fund them. There’s a lot of different capital resources that are out there that can fund these kinds of improvements–from park fees from developers to funding sources like Proposition 68, even funds like Measure A which come from the county,” Ford said.
“There’s a strong community out there that helps the department as we’re shaping skatepark projects. They do really need the input from the skaters who are actually going to use them….But always keep the question of location essential…. It really comes down to the community, those people that are going to be around those facilities all the time, to make sure they have input. Because that’s what makes a skatepark successful…. But it always comes back to location, location, location.”
The nearest skateparks include The Cove in Santa Monica, Stoner Park in Sawtelle, and the Venice Beach boardwalk skatepark.
The Palisades once had a portable skatepark located on the Rec Center basketball courts, which would be moved in and out of service on Sundays.
Palisades Park Advisory Board Member Bob Benton talked about the difficulties of maintaining a portable skatepark.
“To say it was a fiasco is an understatement,” he said. “We have so many problems in the park. Skaters are great, but we don’t have bathrooms, we don’t have plumbing, we have so many issues that take priority.”
Rec Center Director Eric Haas also addressed the feasibility of a skatepark in the Palisades.
“Like Bob said, we have priorities we need at the park. We need ADA bathrooms. Our bathrooms are not ADA-compliant in the small gym. We need to get that fixed. And we have a sewage problem. They’re redoing our gym for it now because of that sewage problem. We have bigger problems up there… We don’t have the room for it [a skatepark] there.”
Questions arose about visibility issues, noise issues and rules of operation.
“If I have to dedicate a staff member to watch [the park], where’s that money coming from?” Haas said. “Skating, although I like it, it’s loud. That lower picnic area down there is surrounded by homes. I can tell you right now—those homeowners, they’re not gonna go for that.”
Community members engaged in a lively discussion regarding security, cost, park needs and noise. No action was taken by the council board regarding the possible skatepark.
(Editor’s note: PPCC will resume its regular meeting schedule on the second and fourth Thursdays of each month (except November, December, July and August) beginning in September. At 6 p.m. on September 12, in the Palisades Branch Library, the agenda will feature a presentation by the Palisades Forestry Committee, a PPCC subcommittee that has prepared a new Urban Forestry Policy for the Palisades to address street tree planting and removal, as well as the overall tree canopy in the community. Residents are encouraged to attend.)