ENCINITAS — Street skaters and “old school” bowl skaters met up at
the Encinitas Community Center on July 20 to have their say in plans for a skate park at the Hall property park.
“I’m not worried about uniqueness, I’m worried about fun,” Thomas Barker of Carlsbad said. “Make it as interactive as possible.”
Design plans for the skate park have been brewing for eight years, professional skater Kanten Russell, project manager for Action Sport Design, said.
Action Sport Design staff has been working with a group of North County professional skaters for close to a decade to design a park that will fit community skating needs and maximize the 35,000-square-foot space set aside for skateboarding.
The meeting gave residents their first look at skate park plans and allowed them to voice their concerns.
The plans illustrated a unique shared plaza area and adjacent bowl area.
The gateway plaza features staircases, benches and planters built of durable materials that allow skaters to grind and slide on them and people to relax and sit on them.
“It’s a friendly environment where you will not get arrested — skaters know what I’m talking about,” Mike McIntyre, president of Action Sport Design, said. “It’s OK to drop your board and ride through there.”
“It’s embracing all people who want to recreate,” Russell said. The dynamic of skaters and park-goers using a shared urban space has worked in many cities, but there has never been a plaza constructed with the intention of inviting skaters to use it recreationally.
“It looks a lot more spacious (than other skate parks), it looks a lot more like a plaza,” Sanford Shapiro, Parks and Recreation Commission chair, said. Shapiro said he is not a skater himself, but has children who skate. “I have a vested interest,” Shapiro said.
“To skate around, that’s huge,” Miles Wood of Encinitas said. “It takes open mindedness on both ends,” he added, referring to both skaters and park visitors.
Additional safety measures are included in the plans to help skaters and pedestrians share the space. The area features a raised walkway to ensure stray boards don’t bump into walkers, and benches in the plaza are set at different heights to encourage sitting or skating.
In addition to the “wheel-friendly” plaza, a berm-separated bowl area and elevated grass viewing area are planned. “What is unique about this is not having bowls in a fenced in area, but adjacent to a multi-use area,” McIntyre said.
The initial design included an easier 9-foot drop-in bowl and a more challenging 10-foot bowl. After passionate community input on July 20 that was heavily in favor of more space for street skating, the design was immediately modified to one signature bowl that will have the look and ride of a pool and a sloping transition space between the plaza street skating area and signature bowl. A water fountain was also added to the skate park upon community request.
Residents were pleased their ideas were instantly incorporated into design plans. “We’re lucky these two guys (McIntyre and Russell of Action Sport Design) are helping us,” Jeff King, a professional skater and ramp builder featured on “Built to Shred,” said.
The final skate park plans will be brought to council before the end of year. Construction of the entire first phase of the park project is expected to cost between $9.5 million and $12 million. Bidding on construction will likely begin in early 2011.
Action Sport Design will work closely with the selected builder to ensure cement work and building are done to specification. “There’s no excuse not to make it perfectly,” McIntyre said.
The plans will soon be available to view at the city of Encinitas website at www.ci.encinitas.ca.us.