VC Skate Park set to re-open amid controversy
The Valley Center Skate Park board is attempting to re-open the park after it was closed last month due to safety concerns.
April 23, 2014Although construction is complete on the first phase of the Valley Center Skate Park, it may not be smooth riding from here on out. Concerned with the uptick in vandalism and other inappropriate behavior, representatives from Valley Center Little League are speaking out in favor of permanently closing the park.
At the regular meeting of the Valley Center Parks and Recreation District board on April 16, Steve Mayfield, vice president of field operations for Little League, voiced his opposition to the park.
"We've been broken into 13 times in a little over six months. That's a huge increase. In previous years we've only been broken into twice," said Mayfield. "We're tired of paying for all these damages. We didn't get a vote. We didn't get a say in the skate park going down there. You guys just put it down there and now you're saying that we have to pay for all the damages."
The recently-completed skate bowl sits in the parking lot just behind the Little League fields. There continues to be tension between the new neighbors despite efforts to work together. Mayfield cited rowdy parties, unsafe construction elements, and vandalism of Little League property as evidence in favor of closing the park.
However, several skaters, parents, and members of the skate park board also spoke at the meeting in favor of the park and the positive impact it has had on the community.
"We're not here trying to support anybody smoking, doing drugs or alcohol or anything like that. We're here to support the skate park," said Zack Smith, vice president of the skate park board. "Really, the bad seeds, we want them out as bad as you guys do, and we're willing to do whatever."
Smith offered the solution of requesting sheriff's deputies to patrol inside the fence of the park more frequently at night to deter possible criminal acts. He also felt that opening the skate park would actually prevent future crimes.
"If we do open it, I think a lot of the problems would stop. I think it would take the focus off of not skating and focus on the skating itself," said Smith. "We're just trying to focus on the good and not the bad."
A special meeting to consider opening the skate park was scheduled for April 23. The Roadrunner is unable to report on the outcome of that meeting at press time, so please check www.valleycenter.com for an update later this week.
With phase one of the park complete, it will be several months before the board is able to raise enough money to begin work on the rest of the park. Smith hopes to use that time to host fundraisers at the park.
In other news from the meeting, Leni Zarate and Micki Hicks from PSOMAS advised the VCPRD board against proceeding with a tax initiative on the November ballot. Based on the relatively lukewarm response from the recent Parks and Recreation survey on expanding services in the district with a slight tax increase, Zarate felt it was "very probable" that a tax initiative would fail in November.
The board will consider how to move forward in light of the presentation, possibly waiting for the 2016 election or putting the issue to vote all by itself to try to scrape up more funds for the cash-strapped district.