VISTA — Vista City Council allocated $1.8 million for construction of the city’s new outdoor skatepark and other funds for city park improvements at its Tuesday meeting.
With an increase in development over the past two years, the city collected a higher sum of building fees than originally estimated. City staff proposed financing the skatepark and repairs for existing parks with the new funds, which are designated for recreation projects.
A new skatepark has long been on the City Council’s agenda since Vista’s original skatepark was leveled in 2008 to make way for the city’s Civic Center.
Though no citizens spoke about the skatepark at Tuesday’s meeting, supporters in the past have said that an outdoor skatepark would promote a healthy lifestyle for Vista’s youth.
“Just having something creative and active to do,… it’s a great opportunity for kids especially in an underserved neighborhood,” said Jack Flaherty, president of the nonprofit Vista Skatepark Coalition.
City Council voted in March last year to construct the skatepark at two locations on Santa Fe Avenue, one for intermediate/advanced skaters and the other for beginners. Each site is over 10,000-square-feet.
Aura Skateboard Training Facility, a private indoor skatepark, is the only skate venue in Vista and charges a fee for use of the course.
Flaherty mentioned that there have been several fatalities over the years of people skating in city streets. He said that having an outdoor, concrete skatepark that is free to the public may take some skaters off the streets.
Now that construction funding is set aside, the skatepark is anticipated to open sometime in 2016.
The city had previously allocated $50,000 for planning the skatepark and is currently selecting a designer for the project.
The remaining development fee funds, totaling over $3 million, were appropriated for improvement projects including replacing the gazebos and picnic tables at Brengle Terrace Park, adding restrooms at Buena Vista Park and Pond, and installing shade sails at several city playgrounds.
Deputy Mayor John Aguilera spoke in favor of moving forward with the skatepark, and urged that the city focus on creating more sports and recreation outlets for the Vista’s youth. He said that he understand that the park repairs are needed, but pointed out that they do not support the city’s goal of “creating youth opportunities.”
Mayor Judy Ritter said she was worried that after the prosed park projects are constructed, that the city will be nearly built-out, leaving little land for new recreation facilities.
Having expressed their concerns, City Council unanimously supported allocating the extra funds to the skatepark and park improvements.