Rec council to see ideas on skate park tonight

With a recent skate park proposal at La Jolla Rec Center kicking dialogue into high gear, proponents were expected to roll out preliminary plans for the undertaking at La Jolla Parks & Rec. Inc.'s 5 p.m. meeting tonight.

Among them were longtime La Jollan and mother of three Marnie Gavit, who first suggested creating such a facility at two recent La Jolla public, park-related meetings. And, since the Rec Center is in the midst of a multiphase master plan to reconfigure its grounds, she suggested now would be the perfect time to do something really visionary.

“I’m not here to try and tear up a community, I’m trying to make our community youth-friendly,” she said last week. “Skateboarders need a safe place to recreate. Skate parks support vibrant, healthy communities, just like any other athletic facility.”

Gavit added that an anonymous source, without her knowledge or participation, has created a Facebook page on the Internet to drum up support for the La Jolla skate park proposal.

Gavit was to be joined at the rec council meeting by Brian Moore of Site Design Group, who designs skate parks and brought 3-D story boards to show examples, and Miki Vuckovich of Tony Hawk Foundation, a nonprofit lobbying for free public skate parks.

“La Jolla is a skate park,” said Vuckovich late last week. “We just want to give kids a sanctioned alternative to where they’re skating now.”

Also last week, Chip Rome, La Jolla Parks & Recreation Inc. president, said he wanted more skate park details.

“Marnie needs to show up with layouts so the community can see what is being proposed,” he said. “Either the community is behind this and will push it forward, or the community is against it and it needs to be pushed out of the way.”

Discussions have been flying around in e-mails and on the Facebook page, that as of Monday had garnered more than 1,700 “friends” and was encouraging people to attend Wednesday’s meeting.

Glen Rasmussen, a local attorney who is president of the La Jolla Town Council Foundation and currently running for a Town Council seat, applauded Gavit’s suggestion.

“La Jolla needs a skate park kids can skate to, not be driven to,” he said in an e-mail, adding the rec center should be considered along with other sites. “While I support open space along the bike path, the city-owned raised lot above the fire station on Nautilus should also be considered for a skate park,” he added. “That area is a nice hub of activity already and if put there (the skate park) is far enough away from the neighborhoods to avoid much noise.”

“There is no such thing as a quiet sport,” noted longtime La Jollan Sally Miller who lives near the bike path. “The bike path is designated open space and used by many from all over San Diego and beyond. It should never be privatized for any one group.”

Though many empathize with Gavit’s viewpoint, some question her primary site choice.

“A skate park is necessary but not at La Jolla Park and Rec,” said Esther Viti, a member of both La Park & Rec. Inc.'s board and the La Jolla Town Council’s Parks and Beaches Subcommittee. “The center’s fields have been used by so many different people for years and to disrupt that would not be fair.”

Viti said there are other areas that would be better.

“How about the vacant land next to Allen Field?,” she asked.

Viti’s colleague on the town council’s parks and beaches committee, John Beaver, also said he’s for the skate board park but he needs more information.

“When Marnie came to parks and beaches she had no plans, no recommendations, no approvals,” he said. “I said, ‘Come back with specifics and if it fits a space, I will support it.’ ”