Committee togrind out skate park proposal

When skateboarders began riding roughshod over the newly restored Music Concourse in Golden Gate Park, Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi started looking for an alternative location for the skaters to use.

Legislation the District 5 supervisor authored to create a skate park in Golden Gate Park will be discussed in committee on Nov. 8, and skateboarding advocates are rallying riders to attend en masse.

Mirkarimi initially proposed the site formerly used for playing horseshoes — above the Conservatory of Flowers — when he introduced the skate park legislation in January, but he’s now open to other suggestions, he said.

“The intent of the legislation is to do what hasn’t been done before, which is provide an outdoor skateboard park in this quadrant of The City, where none exists at all,” Mirkarimi said.

San Francisco has two skateboard facilities: the Hilltop Park Bowl, built in the 1970s in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, and the Crocker Amazon/McLaren Skateboarding Park, constructed in 2002.

Another skateboard park is in the works at Potrero del Sol/La Raza Park in the Mission district, and there’s been discussion about constructing a fourth on Treasure Island.

In 2002, the Board of Supervisors created the San Francisco Skateboarding Task Force, which produced a 23-page master plan calling for five world-class facilities throughout The City. The committee has since dissolved.

This year, a handful of skateboarders decided to continue the work of the task force with hopes of getting more skateboard parks built in San Francisco. The newly formed San Francisco Skateboarding Association is also aiming to improve the public’s perception of skateboarders.

“We’re trying to get kids off the [Music Concourse] fountain,” said SFSA co-founder Bryan Hornbeck, adding that the horseshoe pits provide a “safe place toskate, where no one’s around.”

Last month, the group hosted a cleanup effort at the horseshoe pits that drew approximately 150 skaters, according to Hornbeck. Without anyone using the pits — which became abandoned after horseshoe pits opened at Stern Grove, he said — the area is often taken over by homeless people.

There are an estimated 1,000-plus kids and teens that skateboard in District 5, according to the task force report. San Francisco law prohibits skateboarding on any city street and on any sidewalk in any business district at any time. While The City enforces restrictions on skateboarding in inappropriate places, it also needs to find locations where skaters can practice their sport, Mirkarimi said.

No formal opposition to the proposed skateboarding facility at the horseshoe pits has surfaced, said Recreation and Park Department spokeswoman Rose Dennis, who added that that might change once the word gets out about the plan.

“We don’t know what the greater public’s position is on this because we haven’t started a public process,” Dennis said.

beslinger@examiner.com

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