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A skateboarder attempts a maneuver on one of the ramps set up at Washington Park where city staff is proposing to build a new skate park. Photo by Tony Cagala
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Escondido to hear on proposed skate park

ESCONDIDO — Anthony Delgado launched off the ramp, catching his skateboard mid-air with his feet before landing the trick and rolling off to one side of the basketball courts that had become an impromptu skate park at Washington Park.

He received a couple of fist bumps from friends after pulling up on the sideline.

If Delgado, 18, and his friends weren’t skating there that day, they’d be skating out front of a business or somewhere else in the city where skateboarding wasn’t allowed — all the while keeping an eye out for security guards and trying to avoid police that could kick them out or issue citations.

A new skate park would definitely be a good thing, he said, adding that there aren’t very many places to skate in the city.

This week, city council will hear the staff report on the proposed development of a new skate park at the city-owned Washington Park.

“The whole purpose is to get those kids off the streets and to get them in here,” said Loretta McKinney, the city’s director of library and community services.

In Escondido, the only other skate park is the skate center in city-owned Kit Carson Park.

Delgado said he doesn’t go to the skate center mostly because the obstacles there are meant more for scooters.

A lot of the kids living in the area of the proposed skate park don’t necessarily have the transportation to cross town to use the skate center, according to Danielle Lopez, director of community services, who, along with McKinney, are writing the staff report on the skate park.

And the skate center does charge a fee to use the facility.

The proposed skate park would be free to use.

Earlier in the month, Lopez and McKinney hosted a rally for the new skate park and to gather input from local skaters on what kinds of obstacles and designs they’d like to see.

Plenty of skateboarders, along with scooter riders, placed stickers on images of various parks and designs they’d like to ride.

The proposal calls for building the new skate park, anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000-square feet, where the existing basketball courts are now, and move the courts over to where the tennis courts are. The move would allow for larger basketball courts, while getting rid of the tennis courts, which are under-utilized, McKinney explained.

Any timeframe for the project to get going will depend on whether the council agrees to move it forward, though McKinney said a typical design time would take anywhere from six to eight months.

Funding for the project will also have to be secured, but would likely come through multiple sources, Lopez explained, including grants, and potentially through private and corporate donations.

The majority of the obstacles would be constructed from concrete, which reduces maintenance costs, compared to wood ramps that can be damaged from weather.

Most of the ramps and obstacles at the skate center are still made from wood.

According to McKinney, what they’re hoping will happen if the skate park is built, is that the neighborhoods and businesses nearby will also benefit from it.

“It just really adds to that whole neighborhood concept that you want people to move here because you’re providing for the youth who’s typically ignored. You’re providing an activity for them to come use at their leisure,” McKinney said.