City eyes skate park site

Moulton Meadows Park in Arch Beach Heights could serve as a good location for a skate park, according to a City Council subcommittee.

Mayor Kelly Boyd and Councilman Steve Dicterow propose a 9,000 to 12,000 square foot skate park next to the existing soccer field and basketball and tennis courts.

Boyd and Dicterow selected Moulton Meadows for its location and size, Boyd said.

A community meeting to gain residents' input will take place near the basketball courts at 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

Dicterow and Boyd started meeting with city staff in December to discuss the possible location, but the skate park idea has circulated for more than a decade, according to a letter sent by Boyd to Arch Beach Heights residents.

The project could cost $300,000 to $350,000, with donors chipping in about $100,000, Dicterow said.

Laguna Beach has $195,000 in funds set aside for the park, said Ben Siegel, the city's community services director.

The park would require Coastal Development and Design Review permits, as well as City Council approval, said principal planner Monica Tuchscher.

The skate park would be small in comparison to others in South County, Siegel said.

"This park would not be a world-class, regional draw like Lake Forest's," Siegel said in reference to the 62,000-square-foot Etnies Skatepark.

Boyd did not discuss park specifics since the project is in the planning stages.

"We want to interview skateboarders and see what they want," Boyd said.

Brad Wernli rides a longboard and invented the "Sbyke," a rear-steering scooter that incorporates aspects of a bicycle and skateboard.

"A lot of kids in Laguna Beach do more longboarding, so a skate park should incorporate a track or downhill slalom area," Wernli said of the product, which is sold from a Laguna distribution center.

Twenty Orange County cities have skate parks, according to SoCalSkateparks an online directory.

Costa Mesa's 20,000-square-foot Volcom Skatepark opened at TeWinkle Park off Arlington Drive in 2005, according to the site, and community leaders praise it for giving skaters a place to go other than streets and sidewalks.

"It's the most-used park in the city from the time it opens [9 a.m.] until the time it closes [9 p.m.]," said Katrina Foley, a Newport-Mesa Unified school board member. "There's little to no negative influence on the residential neighborhood. Skateboarders aren't skating on people's properties."

One Laguna Beach skate shop manager has heard all positives regarding a skate park within city limits.

"[A skatepark] is a great idea," said Max Capps, manager at Handplant. "Residents would be able to get skaters out of their hair and [skateboarders] wouldn't have to travel across town to the Etnies Skatepark. I'm a downhill skater, and I am fired up."

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