LONG BEACH The disassembly of the Long Beach skate park has been put on hold after community members urged the city to reconsider moving the park across town.
At the June 4 Long Beach City Council meeting, councilman Del Murry described skateboarding as an outlet that often gets a bad reputation. Despite the reports of vandalism and behavior problems including witnessing one person throwing a skateboard at another he said there are good kids who use the park. He noted that the new location in the vicinity of West Sid Snyder Drive may not be the ideal place for younger kids to use as it is more secluded.
Murry asked the council to come up with another solution, as he knows of other cities that are able to keep skateboard parks in use.
Long Beach Police Chief Flint Wright said there have been numerous complaints from parents who do not feel comfortable bringing their children to the nearby playground and park because of some of the skateboarders behavior and their profanities that are overheard from the skate park.
Councilman Mark Perez added that there have been problems with littering, graffiti, and damage to the fencing and nearby baseball dugouts.
Mayor Bob Andrew agreed and said there needs to be some sort of buffer between the playground area and the skate park. Councilman Don Maxson said it was a mistake to site the skate park in an area where families congregate.
Andrew noted that vandalism in that area has slowed since the skate park was closed.
There have been several suggestions as to how the city could reopen the skate park at its current location, such as recruiting volunteers to monitor the area; installing a security camera system; purchasing a swipe card system that would track who uses the park; or making it an age-restricted area.
During public comment, Cindy Yasunaka said she is on the fence when it comes to the decision to move the skate park. She felt that moving the park would simply be moving the issue from one place to another. She added that the more secluded location might give users the idea that they can do whatever they want, rather than respecting the equipment that is provided for them.
Wright agreed that moving the park probably would not fix the existing issues.
There will be a city council workshop to further discuss the future of the skate park starting at 6 p.m., June 18 at Long Beach City Hall.
In other business, the council approved an ordinance amending the 2011 budget to include additional legal fee expenses and sewer cleaning and repairs expenses.
Councilors also approved a Capital Improvement Plan for years 2012 through 2018.
Finance Director David Glasson explained that this year, the city will perform chip seals and do drainage work on Washington Street between 4th Street North and Pioneer Road.
The city also plans to reconstruct the southern part of Washington Street in 2015, as well as Idaho Street from Sid Snyder to 15th Street SE. The Capital Improvement Plan also includes allocations for: vehicles and computer equipment for the police department; a fire truck and fire equipment; a fire hall building addition; a one-ton truck; water valve, piping, meter and water main replacement; lift station and pump station upgrades; boardwalk rehabilitation; playground equipment and other projects.