Plan to create thrashers’ haven on Treasure Island

San Francisco skateboarders will be doing kickflips all the way to Treasure Island if a plan to build a professional skateboard park on the former Navy base comes to fruition.

The Treasure Island Development Authority recently allocated $61,000 for a temporary skate park that could be constructed from old ramps used during the 1999 Summer X Games at Piers 30-32.

While plans for the park are still preliminary, advocates hope it will help mend arift between skateboarders and city officials created after the Crocker Amazon-McLaren Skateboarding Park was built in 2000. The park has received endless criticism from skaters who say it’s too remote and poorly designed.

Though about 2,500 residents live on Treasure Island, the population is expected to increase in coming years as major redevelopment plans proceed. The skate park would be temporary because the island’s available space would be affected by the development.

A site has not been officially selected, but advocates say the park could be built in the former Olympic-size swimming pool or atop the old roller rink at Ninth Street and Avenue H. It may seem remote, supporters say, but a Treasure Island park would be easily accessible via Muni’s 108-Treasure Island bus route.

A lack of skateboarding facilities in San Francisco has long been a bone of contention for skaters throughout the country. The Hilltop Park Bowl, built in the 1970s in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood, is The City’s only other skateboarding facility, giving way to a larger population of street skaters who seek out stairs, ledges and railings to practice tricks.

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. However, the committee has since dissolved and the master plan was shelved.

“Skateboarding is a very popular sport, and The City has done very little to provide facilities for kids,” said Ted Loewenberg, co-chair of the newly founded San Francisco Skateboarding Association. “History has shown that if you build a skate park, kids will go there.”

Skating advocates say support for skateboarding is on the rise. Although it has hit a construction snag, a third San Francisco skateboarding park is in the works for the Mission district, and officials will begin reviewing the Treasure Island park plan next month.

“It’s the golden era of skate-park building,” said Tim Moore, who goes by Timmy Jak and skates with Jak’s Skate Team. “If you went out in the ’80s or the ’90s to try to find a skate park, you would be driving a couple of hours. It’s a really great time in history for skateboarding.”

Mirian Saez, director of operations for Treasure Island, said the community has called for a skate park to beef up recreation on the island.

arocha@examiner.com


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