La Jolla skate park idea finds new life as effort to find a spot begins
A key question is whether the location should be in central La Jolla or more remote, according to local urbanist and skate park advocate Trace Wilson.
The idea to build a skateboarding park in or near La Jolla is being put forth for the third time in about 12 years.
La Jolla architect and urbanist Trace Wilson announced at the Jan. 19 Enhance La Jolla board meeting that efforts are underway to pick a location for a skate park in the area.
Wilson is a member of the La Jolla Recreation Center Visioning Committee, which is circulating plans to renovate the more than 100-year-old center.
When he got involved with the renovation about six years ago, he said, “some of those in the community said they wanted a skate park.” Having been a skateboarder during his youth, “I think that’s the right idea,” Wilson said.
Currently, the closest skate parks to La Jolla are the YMCA Krause Family Skate & Bike Park in Clairemont (about eight miles away), the Robb Field Skate Park in Ocean Beach (about 11 miles) and the Linda Vista Skate Park (also about 11 miles).
Though the La Jolla Rec Center in 2017 was deemed an inappropriate location, the idea for a local skate park lived on. “In my heart, I wanted to find the right spot for one,” Wilson said. “I wracked my brain and thought of all the remnant parcels in La Jolla for where a skate park might go, and ultimately I had an a-ha moment down at the bottom of [Soledad Mountain Road] where the [Capehart] dog park is, where there are facilities, parking and remnant land there.”
Wilson said he and other skateboarding advocates met recently with representatives of the San Diego Parks & Recreation Department to determine the right location. As of now, six or seven locations are being considered, he said. But the question remains as to whether the location should be in central La Jolla or more remote.
“There is an interesting debate going on right now because some are arguing for a skate park that kids can walk to, so more locally centered, vs. a regional park you would have to get a ride to,” he said. “They have a really good point; every time I see a skate park, it is out by a freeway and distant from housing, but ... if you can find a location that doesn’t impact neighbors, why not let the kids use it?
“But nothing is settled right now.”
Resident Chris Cott said that if an area near Capehart Dog Park is chosen, additional parking should be created.
In summer 2017, when the idea was presented to have a skate park as part of the Rec Center renovation, La Jolla parks and recreation leaders issued a survey in which the concept for a skate park received support.
However, residents near the Rec Center voiced strong opposition, arguing that a skate park would change the character of the community and the center, as well as increase noise and discourage some age groups from using the facility.
The La Jolla Park & Recreation board voted unanimously to deny the installation of a skate park at the Rec Center.
An earlier skate park proposal was floated in 2010, but amid backlash from area residents, it never came to fruition. ◆
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