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El Centro skate park passes hurdle

May 16, 2002|By RUDY YNIGUEZ

Staff Writer

The El Centro City Council approved the building of a skateboard park adjacent to the Conrad Harrison Youth Center on Park Avenue.

When exactly the park will be built depends on when the city obtains $110,000 in state park bond proceeds already approved by the voters. The full cost is estimated at $165,000.

Marty Tracey, city director of parks and recreation, told the City Council on Wednesday the skateboard park will consist of modular pieces and will replace the tennis courts at the same location.

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The use of modular pieces will allow for periodic changes that should keep the course interesting, he said.

The city is expected to charge for using the park. Fees could include a $20 annual pass for all city recreational services, plus a per use fee of $2 for a two-hour session weekdays and $4 for a two-hour session on weekends and holidays. The City Council recently commissioned a study to determine what should be charged for various city services, including at the skateboard park.

Tracey said the park should be staffed by city personnel and the fee will help make it self-sustaining. He said it will cost between $35,000 and $40,000 yearly to operate. He compared skateboarders to golfers in that they travel to other areas to try different courses and that the city should expect visitors from throughout the region and Mexicali.

Besides obtaining full funding, Tracey said an environmental assessment must be performed.

In response to a question, Tracey said it is unrealistic that skateboarders will stop using public and private property just because the city opens a park for them.

"If they enjoyed that before, they'll enjoy that after," he said.

In other business, the council:

· approved the second reading of the ordinance to establish a business improvement district for the downtown.

· approved a $1.75 million state grant request for the local master bike plan. The grant requires a 10 percent match.

· received a report from the El Centro Chamber or Commerce & Visitors Bureau on its activities for the past year.

· donated excess playground equipment to the Sistema Educativa Estatal in Mexicali and to the El Oasis Orphanage 140 miles southwest of Mexicali.

· was told Imperial Avenue, north of Euclid Avenue, will be closed June 21-23 to repair the Union Pacific Railroad crossing. Truck traffic will be routed onto Dogwood and Forrester roads, while vehicle traffic will be routed onto Eighth Street and La Brucherie Road.

>> Rudy Yniguez can be reached at 337-3440.

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