CARLSBAD — The City Council meeting on April 27 was standing room only as council members heard a proposal for a skateboarding museum and media center project.
Backed by the Carlsbad Village Association, or CVA, the project was presented as a future way to engage local youth, invigorate the local economy and attract international tourism to a city full of skateboarding history.
“We’re hoping this will allow people to experience Carlsbad in a way they hadn’t thought of before,” said Robin Young, executive director of the CVA.
The project could include a skateboarding museum and gallery, an education center and a digital and media arts center. The site would also include an outdoor amphitheatre, a sculpture garden and thousands of square footage of skate-able area.
Landscape architect Mike McIntyre of Action Sport Design, who has built skate parks all over the world, designed the project. In addition to an “aesthetically pleasing” urban plaza, his plans for the skating area also include several components from the original 1970s Carlsbad skate park and the famed Carlsbad Gap.
“Hopefully this would be something on the cover of your brochure one day — ‘come to Carlsbad and visit the history of skateboarding,’” he said.
Although some village merchants are skeptical of the project, Young said that she was speaking on behalf of her board in support of it. The board believes that if the kids have a designated place to skate in the village, there will be less skateboarding traffic on the downtown streets.
“It’s far enough away from residential areas and merchants,” Young said. “The kids will be well-guarded and safe.”
The proposed site for the project is a current city maintenance yard on Oak Avenue. The city has plans to relocate the equipment at the yard and transform the site into an arts and culture-oriented facility within the next few years. The museum and arts center proponents believe that they fulfill those requirements and hope to lease the site for their project.
Supporters of all ages filled the council chambers, both inside and out, as the council members heard the proposal in its entirety for the first time. Several spoke during public comment to reinforce the community’s desire to see the facility in the Carlsbad Village.
“The art that skateboarders have created has filled our world,” said skate photographer Desiree Astorga. She continued on to say that Carlsbad would be an “ideal fit” for such a project.
The council members at the meeting took no action and showed no endorsement for the project. City Manager Lisa Hildabrand said that the next step would be to work with Debbie Fountain, the director of housing and redevelopment, who is running the project. As the city moves forward with vacating the Oak Avenue property, it plans to do public outreach and find what the community would like for the site.
“It will be two or three years before we have the site vacated, but now’s a good time to plan,” she said. “We’ll be happy to work with the community to decide what to have out there.”