Thursday, November 29, 2007

Council Provides $100K For New Skate Park

With city budget on track, new facility gets priority

By Nao Braverman
On Tuesday night the Ojai City Council chambers were spilling over with a rare visit from Ojai’s youngsters.
The crowd of teenagers and elementary school students accompanied some proud parents, members of the Skate Board Task Force and the Oak Grove School principal, to ask, once again, for some public funds to help them get started on building a permanent park for Ojai’s skateboarders.
For the first time in years, the City Council was able to answer their pleas by unanimously approving a $100,000 sum to be transferred from the city’s General Fund money to to the Capital Projects Fund, set aside and designated for building the long-awaited permanent skateboard park.
“Some of you were not even born when we first began talking about the skate park,” said Councilman Joe DeVito. “If anyone deserves first priority it’s you.”
Books for the 2006-2007 fiscal year are about to close with close to half a million more than previously projected in the General Fund, almost $2 million total, said city manager Jere Kersnar. With this good news, as well as the the 2007-2008 projected budget on target so far, city staff agreed it was safe to set aside $100,000 to be used to aid in the construction of a new cement in-ground skate park.
With the cost of a basic park estimated to be $350,000, the newly established nonprofit, Skate Ojai, was also asked to raise the remaining $250,000 before June 30 so that construction could begin as soon as possible.
Though city staff estimated the cost of a permanent state-of-the-art inground skate park with rest rooms to cost $500,000, Skate Ojai contended that $350,000 would cover costs for at least a basic in-ground cement park without bathrooms and additional frills. Thus the $350,000 target would be set for June 30. If Skate Ojai was able, it would then shoot to raise additional funds for bathrooms and any other amenities and added equipment, said Skate Ojai representative Tom Haws.
“This is not a sport that is going away,” said skate park supporter and task force member Judy Gabriel. She announced that six Ojai skateboarders had been invited to participate in California’s new Skate Week.
A number of local residents and even a few skateboarders spoke in support of a new park to be.
DeVito told attendants that many of the first skate park lobbyers had been to college and back, and were now eager for their children to have a place to skate. The plans for the permanent skate park, on the back burner for at least 10 years were initially delayed because of the city’s fiscal crisis in 2005. But with additional revenues from the 2006-2007 fiscal year, the city is finally ready to get plans running again.
Councilwoman Sue Horgan and Mayor Carol Smith encouraged Skate Ojai to begin getting plans drafted as soon as possible.
“We want to start building something by the end of June,” said Smith. “We don’t want this fund raising to go on forever.”
Hanstad made a motion to allocate $100,000 toward the new permanent skate park construction and have Skate Ojai begin raising funds for the park, with a goal of collections by June 30. The motion passed unanimously.


Anonymous said...

Great news, finally this has been a long time in the making. Ojai's youth will now have an outlet.

furry herbalist said...

Let's hope that this new park will keep the skate boarders off our public sidewalks and out of the Arcade Plaza!

B Dawson

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is great news and about time the City kicks in some money for the benefit of our children and not just for the benefit of local businesses such as that of the furry herbalist.

Anonymous said...

I dont mind them on the sidewalk or the plaza. I do mind the uptight walkers

Disenfranchised Resident said...

What a waste of money for these spoiled little children. When I was a kid in Ojai, we never had anything like this. Shame on the city for being the mommy and daddy everything to brats want.

Anonymous said...

Disenfranchised Your right better to not spend the money on them and promoting something for them to channel their energy. They could all not have it and grow up resentful and unhappy as you have.

James Hatch said...

James Hatch supports youth sports and recreation.

Anonymous said...

My dog supports youth sports and recreation.

Anonymous said...

To disenfranchised, somebody must not know how to ride a skateboard, maybe a little jealous? I grew up in Ojai, we had miniture golf, bowling the Rec Department, skateboarding, and yes we would sneak and ride our bikes and skateboards in the arcade, we would always get caught,back then both parents didn't have to work life was different, one parent was always home, well those days are gone,at least these kids want to do something fun and physical and not against the law like tagging someones business, and good for them to stand up to the city council and fight for something they believe in!

Zack Hawes said...

Amen to that!

Zack Hawes said...

By the way you spelled my dad's name wrong, It's Hawes, not haws.

Anonymous said...

The City of Ojai has never done anything productive for the children. The city is full of old people who hate the youth so much that they call the police when they see a teenager smoking a cigarette. You old fucks just need to pull your heads out of your ass and realize that you are old and will never truly be able to realize what is happening around you. THanks for donating the money for the park now lets see if you can get the job done.