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Skate project soon ready to hit launch ramp

May 17, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

BRAWLEY — This city could have a skate park built in the next fiscal year following an action by the council this week to approve $385,000 for the project.

The next fiscal year starts July 1.

For more than two years the city has been working toward building a skate park.

Karin Morgan, city director of parks and recreation, said the park would be about 12,000 square feet, larger than the inside surface of the Lions Center gymnasium.

Some $250,000 of the cost would be paid from city funds. The rest would come from state grants, Morgan said.

Morgan said one issue that still must be addressed is where the park will be built. The idea is to build the park within the area of the Lions Center.

City officials have discussed building the park on the stretch of road between Wiest Field and the smaller baseball fields.

They also have discussed other locations, and Morgan added, the preferred site is in the field west of the Lions Center gymnasium and just across from Warne Field. The field belongs to the Brawley Union High School District.

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Morgan said there have been discussions with school officials and they have expressed a willingness to work with the city. However, no agreement has been reached.

Brawley City Manager Jerry Santillan called the skate park project a partnership between the city, the school district and Brawley residents.

He said he thinks it will be possible to reach an agreement with the school district on building the skate park in the west field.

Morgan said now that the funding has been approved, more formal discussions can take place with school officials.

Morgan said once a site is chosen it will be possible to move fairly quickly on starting construction.

She added the skate park has been designed, although it will be necessary to make some modifications. Still, she said the goal is to build the park within the next fiscal year.

"This is really exciting," she said adding the city has moved as fast as possible to make the project a reality.

If Brawley does build the skate park within the next year it would be only the second such park in the Imperial Valley.

The city of Calipatria has built a much smaller skate park. Other local cities, including El Centro and Calexico, have discussed building skate parks.

In Brawley the idea was first discussed to address the popularity of skateboarding and in-line skating.

The concern among city officials is youths practice those sports on city streets, which can be dangerous for youths and motorists.

Youths have gone before the council in the last two years to voice their interest in a skate park and their willingness to help with the park.

Santillan said the building of the skate park is part of an overall master plan that calls for increasing services for the city's teen population.

He said along with the park, the city in the next fiscal year will build a teen center within the gymnasium area and will be upgrading the gymnasium and the pool area.

"It's a milestone for us," Santillan said of the projects to reach out to the teen population.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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