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December 12, 2017
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Jud Snyder
Is RP ready for a real outdoor skateboard park in city limits?
December 1, 2017

I SEE IN THE DAILIES ROHNERT PARK City Council’s floating the idea of a skate park for the city. This is the second time in the last five or eight years the council discussed it seriously before it decided to shelve it and no one knows how far it will go this time.

Skateboarding has been around in many counties with varying facilities for each, but all it takes are a few ramps to attract them as we can see in our local shopping centers. I don’t think anyone’s written a history of skateboarding but there are magazines with national circulation about the sport and I’m pretty sure there’s communication of a lower sort between regional clubs. 

The chief factors for any discussion are cost and location. Let’s look at cost first. 

COST OF A SKATEBOARD PARK

There’s not a huge amount of money needed to build an outdoor skateboard park. Put a couple of professional skateboarders in the same room with cement mechanics and they’d succeed. But you would need a staff on duty all the hours the park is open, even if it’s only one person. 

Will it be free admission? Or will there be a caterer selling soda pop and hot dogs? You’ll need benches, or tables and seats for participants to relax between fun on the ramps and for spectators, parents or friends. It would be nice to have dressing rooms to change clothes but not vital. 

There won’t be too much trouble to find adequate parking, at least for the one site mentioned so far, between Spreckels Theater and Rancho Cotate High School. But this site has too many drawbacks. If there’s little parking at Spreckels because of a public stage performance that means using the high school parking lot and that has the added peril of crossing a busy Snyder Lane with its traffic. 

The cost could be absorbed by the city but how would it be repaid? They can’t pass a citywide tax of some kind for a city-owned skateboard park and I hate to think of the premiums the company would charge the city. Maybe there’s a banker or developer who could pay the cost. But I’m not optimistic, for corporate sponsorship these days, is not a solid bet. 

The city should do some research and contact other cities if they have skateboarding projects in operation to see how they handled the cost factor.

It’s far too early to talk about legal tangles ahead. But if a lawsuit arises involving an injury is the city responsible, whether or not the city owns it?

 

LOCATION OF A SKATEBOARD PARK

When it comes to location, the site on Snyder Lane between Spreckels and RCHS is not a good one, it has too many drawbacks, mainly due to traffic on this heavily traveled street that has nothing to do with a skateboard park. It would have to be a site that has easy traffic access for participants. It would not be a heavily trafficked street for participants are hardly dominating teens in RP.

There’s no room at the high school and I hardly think Sonoma State U would lean towards such a project. I’m thinking a large piece of property like Vast Oaks across RP Expressway from Green Music Center at SSU. Or maybe property in the new development on the west side of Petaluma Hill Road near the Sonoma Entertainment Center south of East Cotati Avenue I’m sure there are others you can mention.

IN CONCLUSION

There’s myriad of other questions such as – will helmets be mandatory, maybe even elbow and knee protection, age limits, what’s the youngest allowed to use the ramps, will there be extra police attention during busy hours for skateboarders, what should be the hours and open every day, etc.??

It’s an interesting concept for I’m sure skateboarding will not go away. It’s the skateboard itself that’s the main focus but it sure comes loaded with a supply of needed additions to match the quality of RP’s other development so far.