Youth rally behind skate park
Concerns over the potential closure of a segment of Lakeview Avenue under the 56 Acre project took a backseat on Thursday evening, as dozens of South Lake Tahoe’s youth rallied in support of incorporating an indoor skatepark into the project’s plan.
The crowd at Thursday’s 56 Acre project public workshop was drawn by word of mouth and bulletins on Myspace pitching the idea of a skatepark at the site, located south of El Dorado Beach in South Lake Tahoe.
Current designs for the project include space for a youth complex roughly the size of the existing library.
Skateboarding’s popularity among South Shore adolescents makes an indoor skatepark the obvious choice for the complex, according to many at the meeting on Thursday.
“The fact that we don’t have one says a lot about how much we care about our kids – and we don’t,” said a frustrated Amanda Pape, a South Lake Tahoe resident and skate park advocate, outside the meeting.
A familiar refrain heard throughout the meeting was giving youth alternatives to expensive winter sports and allowing them another place to gather besides the casino corridor.
“The scene down there is get drunk, get high, and go walk around,” said 16 year-old skateboarder and South Lake Tahoe resident, Joe Partida. “Skateboarding isn’t a crime; it’s something that will boost your self esteem, really.”
A climbing wall and ice arena are two additional ideas for the potential youth complex.
“We’re designating space as something for teens because we know we need it,” said project manager Deb Vreeland. “Right now we’re looking at all the possibilities.”
Regardless of the final plan, funding for each aspect of the 56 acre project will need to be obtained before it becomes a reality, Vreeland said.
While many of the skatepark supporters left at the conclusion of the meeting, a small group stuck around to discuss the planning and fund-raising necessary to get a park included in the project.
“You guys coming up here and speaking is great, but you need someone giving it some guts,” said Tyler Cannon, a member of the 56 Acre project’s steering committee, to the group.
Several skateboarders suggested refurbishing and expanding the existing outdoor skate park at Bijou Community Park might be a better option than trying to incorporate their desires into such a high-profile project.
Plans for improving the Bijou skatepark are in their initial stages, according to Gary Moore, director of parks and recreation for the City of South Lake Tahoe.
Details of the current design of the 56 acre project will be presented to the City Council and El Dorado County Board of Supervisors next month and a steering committee meeting on the project is scheduled for Dec. 6.