Mobile skateboard park debuts in Costa Mesa

Jennifer Kho

COSTA MESA -- The City Council still doesn't have a permanent location

for its skateboard park, but that isn't going to stop skateboarders and

in-line skaters from riding on rails, quarter pipes, wedges and spines

this summer -- with the city's blessing.

A mobile skateboard park debuted May 19 at a Leadership Tomorrow event

to paint tiles for renovations at Tewinkle Park.

"It was really popular," said Rob Cavanaugh, recreation coordinator.

"The kids loved it. They could have skated all day."

The eight-piece skate park includes basic equipment, designed for

beginning- and medium-level skateboarders and takes about an hour for

city staff to set up, he said.

"The point is to give children and people in different parts of the

community access to a skate park that is close by, maybe without

transportation, rotating around the community so everyone can take

advantage of this skate park," Cavanaugh said.

Mayor Libby Cowan, who made a motion to begin a mobile skateboard park

program in February, when the council reversed its decision to build a

park at Charle and Hamilton streets after more than two years of efforts

to find a location.

Cowan said she came up with the idea for a mobile park "by the seat of

my pants."

"It really was in the middle of the conversation that night,

understanding we weren't going to get a permanent site and realizing that

we had to do something for those kids," she said. "It was just a last

minute, 'How can we save this?"'

A temporary park could assuage some of the fears that are making

people reluctant to have permanent skateboard parks in their

neighborhoods, she said.

"We've really dragged our feet on this, and I think this kind of

temporary, portable element will show people that it's OK to have a skate

park in their neighborhood."

Jim Gray, a Costa Mesa skateboarder who has long supported a permanent

skateboard park in the city, said he is glad the mobile park will be

available but still thinks a permanent park is necessary.

"I am impressed with the City Council members who fought to get this

for the kids," he said. "It shows they care about the kids, and I can't

wait to see the skate park. At the same time, it's going to deteriorate

and cost a lot of maintenance money. For a permanent one, you could just

throw on concrete, hose it off once in a while and it could last for 20

years. I'm not anti-mobile skate park, but it's like telling people who

have played tennis all their lives that we'll put two holes in a gravel

parking lot and they can stretch a net across it. Will it work? Yeah. Is

it what you want to ride? No."

In June, the mobile skate park will be at Wakeham Park, 3400 Smalley

St., from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Fridays; at TeWinkle Park, 970 Arlington

Drive, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Tuesdays; and at Tanager Park, 1780

Hummingbird Drive, from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursdays.

Schedules for the rest of the summer have not yet been made.

Safety equipment is required, and the city will only have a limited

amount of equipment available at the parks.

For more information, call (714) 754-5158.

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