Skate park advocates volley for ollies in Mission

After years of planning, efforts to build a skate park in the Mission District have started to roll forward.

On Thursday, The City’s Recreation and Park Capital Program Committee gave the green light to department staff to begin soliciting design-build proposals for the skate park, part of a $2 million plan that also includes renovations and added security measures for the existing Potrero del Sol site.

Although San Francisco already has one skate park, in Crocker Amazon park, the effort to build a second site for skaters came in 2000, when San Francisco voters passed a $110 million park bond fund, some of which was earmarked for the Potrero del Sol improvements. The project got sidelined, however, due to other park priorities.

Funding was found, however, in this year’s city budget, including $1.3 million from the general fund, along with $710,000 of the leftover park bond funds, and a $720,000 state grant, breathed new life into the skateboard plan.

In February, Recreation and Park Department staff conducted a community meeting to kick off the skate park design phase, attended by approximately 150 people, many of them skaters.

To the delight of many of the skate park supporters, department staff had contacted Grindline, a skate park design firm, to develop a concept plan. Although the company is internationally known, there is only one other skate park built by Grindline in California, in Mammoth Lakes.

“They’re the masters of the [skating] universe,” said skate park supporter Scott McNutt, 34. “A lot of these skaters have been dying to get these guys to build a park for us.”

Not everyone is happy about the skate park plan; neighbors have expressed concerns that crowds of teenagers would take over the park, creating noise and safety issues.

Cathy Ramacciotti, former president of the East Mission Improvement Association, said many members of the neighborhood groups have opposed the skate park, but since she has a son who skateboards, she supports it.

“I think it’s a good idea,” Ramacciotti said. “Some people play golf, other people play tennis, that’s what they do.”

beslinger@examiner.comBay Area NewsLocalneighborhoods

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