Thursday, August 28, 2008

Council Moves Quickly On Skate Park

City seeking costs of demolition before building begins, as lease expires in 2023

By Nao Braverman
Plowing forward with plans for a permanent skate park in Ojai, the City Council authorized the mayor to sign an agreement with Site Design Group, Inc. at Tuesday night’s regular council meeting.
After sending out requests to 20 design firms, the city received nine proposals at the end of July. City staff and members of Skate Ojai selected four finalists and interviewed them on Aug. 18. Site Design Group, Inc., a Solana Beach-based design firm special-izing in skate parks, stood out as the best fit.
The agreement calls for the design of a 10,000-square-foot park for a lump sum of $14,410.
While the leading skate park design firm is known for designing the world’s largest skate park, “Black Pearl” in the Grand Cayman Islands, the director, Brian Moore, assured council members that they were well prepared to design a modest 10,000-square-foot park.
“Most of the parks we design average around 10,000 to 15,000 square feet,” he said. “I think 10,000 square feet is perfect for your area.”
The desired shape, a triangle to fit the alloted property, would pose the biggest constriction challenge, said Moore. But a challenge is always exciting.
The company has designed a variety of different parks of all sizes. Some aesthetic elements they have added to their designs include different color concrete, integrated landscaping, custom tiles and public art.
The company prides itself in integrating the community into their design process. At a local event, Site Design Group members will host a workshop with skaters and community members.
Inviting celebrity professional skateboarder Kanten Russell, who is also a designer for the firm, the company hopes to attract a number of prospective skaters to the event. Attendants will then divide into groups and each create their own design together. At the end, attendants are to vote on each of the designs.
For those who can’t make the workshop, the firm will be providing an interactive web site with a community access password so that locals can view and comment on the design at any time, said Moore.
Mayor Sue Horgan asked Moore if he knew the cost of demolishing the skate park used for the Maloof Money Cup at the Orange County Fair. The park went up for the duration of the fair and was demolished afterwards.
As has been discussed at many council meetings, the Ojai park may have to be taken out when the city’s lease with the school board for the skate park property expires in 2023. The cost and ease of demolishing the skate park have not been determined.
But Moore said he did not know the cost and added that the demolition was a huge blow for Orange County skateboarders.
In other council news city manager Jere Kersnar presented the council with a possible strategy for securing the city’s future finances. Essentially a savings plan, to be implemented when the city has fully replenished its reserves, he is suggesting that the council budget its excess spending a year in advance.
That means first identifying the basic services that the city needs to function. Since the savings crusade, which began after the budget crisis in 2004 and 2005, the city has cut spending and has been functioning at a minimal level of services, said Kersnar.
Any spending in excess of basic services, such as money granted to outside agencies and funds for special projects, would be established a year before the money would actually be appropriated, he explained.
That way the money could be spent after the city receives its revenues, so the city would have those revenues to dip into and actual money to spend.
Everything in excess of the base line services would be paid for as one-time costs, he said. So in case something happens to decrease revenues, such as a natural disaster, a decrease in state funds, it would be easier for the city to eliminate expenses and go back to offering basic services.
Councilwoman Carol Smith was concerned that such a policy would make it difficult to hire new employees without paying them as contract workers. But Kersnar said that there were ways to work around that problem, including hiring firms to do certain jobs, rather than individual employees.
Horgan said that she was generally pleased with the plan but wanted to take closer look at what has been established as basic services for the city.
“The first thing I would like to discuss is whether the baseline services being provided are adequate,” she said.
Other council members agreed that the somewhat innovative policy was favorable, and should be studied more carefully for future implementation.
Earlier at the meeting five community members urged the council to implement an ordinance that would regulate the use of harmful pesticides and herbicides, particularly on school district property and near waterways.
The meeting was adjourned in the memory of former Councilman Hal Mitrany and former Ojai Trolley employee Jerry Green.

11 comments:

Pat McPherson said...

I just wanted to set the record straight about demolishing the skate park at the end of the lease in 2023.

According to Monte Widders Status report of October 12, 2007 that was made public at the August 19, 2008 special City Council meeting (The Agency referred to is the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Ojai that leases the property from OUSD):

“If the Agency continues the use of the Parking Facility and the Skating Facility until the end of the Second Extended Term (or any successive extended term), both the Parking Facility and the Skating Facility become the property of the District and the Agency is not required to remove the improvements thereon.”

The report goes on to say:

“CONCLUSION”
“The Lease is currently in full force and effect, not cancellable by either the Agency or the District prior to the expiration of its current Second Extended Term (December 31, 2023) unless either party violates some provision or obligation contained within the Lease's terms”

As I brought up at the special City Council meeting, at the end of the lease in 2023, OUSD may prefer to extend the lease beyond 2023 rather than incur the cost to remove the park.

If anyone would like a PDF copy of the Monte’s report, drop me an e-mail at pat@riverchildren.net.

Anonymous said...

If the new permanent park where to be constructed at Sarzotti Park, or elsewhere, then skaters can continue skating during the construction phase which is projected to be 6 months. Yes/No?

Anonymous said...

From what I hear, most skaters don't want to continue skating at the current park under any conditions. It's a wreck, it's beyond repair, and they're just tired of the place and all of its problems. Does that answer your question?

Anonymous said...

RE the question - If the new permanent park where to be constructed at Sarzotti Park.. ..yes/No?

The answer is NO.

The money was contributed for the park to be built ONLY were it is today.

HOW MANY TIMES DOES THIS HAVE TO BE SAID?

Anonymous said...

Depends. If you ask the kids directly.

Anonymous said...

If you ask "the kids" directly, what?

Anonymous said...

If they changed the placement to Sarazotti park, there would be more red tape, more meetings more discussion... Sarazotti park is in a residential area. People don't want kids skating past their house , getting run over as they back out of their driveways. There would be noise issues , safety issues, you name it. The skate park only has a chance if it remains where it is.

Anonymous said...

How about across from the police station? As I understand it, the skate park will be built, for sure; the only question remaining is: where?

Has anyone else asked the kids where they will do their skating for the 6+ months of demolition/construction?

Anonymous said...

Everybody else already knows where the skate park will be built, including the kids. You're the only one who can't seem to figure it out.

As far as where the kids will be skating, maybe they'll be skating at your house.

Anonymous said...

Sure, why not? I don't have a problem with that.

Anonymous said...

Sure, why not? I don't have a problem with that.

I'm sure that the OVN would be glad to run the ad for you.