VISTA — Nearly four years to the day, the Vista City Council approved its final financial allocation to complete a pair of skate parks.
The council approved $103,624 for remaining claims related to the two parks along N. Santa Fe Avenue during its Feb. 12 meeting. Grindline, a Seattle-based skate park design and construction company, came up with the designs for the two parks based in part on input from the community and local skaters.
The parks opened in September 2017 and have been a huge success, according to Recreation and Community Services Director Therron Dieckmann.
Meanwhile, Marty Martinez of The Paint Food 760, a local nonprofit focused on creating community through arts and music, said he supports the skate parks, adding his organization would like to piggyback near those two sites as a way to create a positive “activation of space.”
Martinez said it is an opportunity to work with the city and neighboring businesses and entities to join forces to develop positive avenues for the city’s youths. He said the parks attract kids, but in turn, the combined efforts of the nonprofit, city and businesses can help kids stay away from drugs, gangs and other bad paths.
Jack Flaherty, president of the Skate Park Coalition, was a big part of keeping the item in front of the City Council, according to 2016 report in The Coast News.
After the city’s old skate park was torn down to accommodate the construction of the new Civic Center, Flaherty made a promise to the kids that skated there every day that he would find a solution.
The idea was to build one large skate park, but after having a tough time finding an ideal location for the park, the city suggested two smaller ones.
The two parks feature a bowl on the site at 400 N. Santa Fe Ave., and a street course just a block up at 510 N. Santa Fe Ave., which is connected by a transformed alleyway with a skateable surface and smaller obstacles for skaters to use.
The parks cost about $900,000 each, with the city putting up the $2 million to complete the projects. Each site was already owned by the city, which was one of the biggest factors for selecting them.
In 1994, the site used to house an assembly hall and before that there was a warehouse on the property.
“This is a great example of how the city is working together, collaborating with residents and community groups to create a more active and better community for everyone,” Mayor Judy Ritter said in 2016.
As for Flaherty, the longtime Vista resident and skateboarder said the skate culture in Vista is strong.
“Modern street skating was basically born in Vista,” he said in 2016. “This is basically the Dog Town of the ‘80s … there’s a really strong skate history in Vista.”