Skate park on the move

<p>A Long Beach city work crew disassembles the ramps of the skate park Tuesday morning.</p>

LONG BEACH — Access has been denied to a popular Long Beach recreation site after city officials say they grew tired of ongoing vandalism and behavior complaints.

All is quiet behind the locked gates at the Long Beach skate park. According to Long Beach City Administrator Gene Miles, it may stay locked until the city can move the park to a new location.

“We had some problems and vandalism at the park, we have had them a number of times, but the last one — for the mayor — was sort of a last straw,” explained Miles.

The last straw was when the city discovered that someone had created a shortcut into the park by cutting a hole in the cyclone fencing. This offense was preceded by numerous complaints about users’ language, which is overheard at the neighboring children’s park. Miles said graffiti and other destruction has also become commonplace at the site.

“Unfortunately, a small group of folks are ruining it for everybody,” Miles lamented.

Long Beach Police Chief Flint Wright said his department is aware of the “constant vandalism” taking place at the park, and said he receives regular complaints about the behavior of some of the skateboarders who use the park.

Wright explained, “The main complaint was from people who would not take their kids to the park anymore because of the language of the skateboarders. Parents would ask them to stop and they’d say ‘no’ and keep doing it.”

At this point, city officials are preparing to move the skate park to a better-suited location.

“We’ve talked about moving it to either a spot down in the Bolstad approach area, or there’s a piece of pavement that was part of a street behind the woods behind the theatre that hasn’t been used,” said Miles.

He said the second location — an unused street off the north side of West Sid Snyder Drive — might be the best fit, as the site is already paved.

Miles said he hopes that the city may be able to move the park to its new location this summer.

“I think it’s going to happen here pretty soon, as soon as staff has time to move the ramps,” he concluded.

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