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Our Opinion: Make promise a reality

May 23, 2002

It is good to see the El Centro City Council is interested in building a skate park for the city's youth.

With the popularity of skateboarding and in-line skating, it makes sense for El Centro to consider such facilities

Other local cities already have. Take Calipatria. That small North County city was the first in the Imperial Valley to build a skate park. It's not the largest skate park, but it does serve a need in that community. Calexico was the next to open a skate park, and that facility has seen heavy use.

Now Brawley is on the verge of starting construction on a skate park, one expected to be built in the next fiscal year and will be the largest in the Valley. Already Brawley has set aside funding and received the necessary funds to make the project come to fruition.

The El Centro City Council has approved building a skate park next to the Conrad Harrison Youth Center on the unused tennis courts, which is an important step for the city. What it means is there will be skate parks in the three largest local cities and from one corner of the Valley to the other.


The problem is we don't know when the skate park in El Centro will be built. The future of the project depends on the city receiving $110,000 in state park bond proceeds and there is no telling when the city will receive that funding. And when money is in question it is difficult to say if it will ever materialize. It is always possible that the state could find a way to abscond with the money, particularly as the state faces a deficit.

We urge the city of El Centro to try to be pro-active and see if there are grant funds the city might tap into to speed up the project. Promises were made to El Centro youths years ago, most coming from a particular city councilman, that this skate park would happen. Now it is time to make good on that promise.

Skate parks can be good things for a city. Just drive along Main Street in El Centro near Imperial Avenue and see the kids practicing their sport as they jump off steps and a short brick wall, landing on a sidewalk a few feet from traffic.

How many times have their skateboards flown out from beneath them only to cross into traffic? The same goes for parking lots like Wal-Mart where young people skate.

Will a skate park completely solve the problem? Obviously it would not. But, it would help, and that alone makes it a worthwhile project.

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