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FOCUS: ORANGE COUNTY COMMUNITY NEWS | NEWPORT / COSTA
MESA / IRVINE: COSTA MESA

Skateboard Park Wins Tentative Approval

April 22, 1998|JOHN CANALIS

It was so long ago when Mayor Peter Buffa first suggested a skateboard park, he said, that "I didn't have gray hair."

Eleven and a half years later, Buffa's hair is salt-and-pepper, and the City Council has tentatively agreed to build a skating area at Lions Park.

On Monday, the council allocated $800,000 for the park and set a public hearing for next month to discuss specifics.

Local skaters said they were satisfied with the victory, particularly since Huntington Beach is the only other city in the county with sanctioned skateboarding places.

"Wherever you go, you get kicked out or get tickets," said Yuchi O'Hara, 22, of Costa Mesa. "It's good support for the industry."

Paul Schmitt, head of Giant Skateboard Distribution and a board designer well-known among skaters, gave Buffa a $10,000 check toward the project.

Schmitt and other professionals in Costa Mesa will help design the park.

"The needs of a skateboard park satisfy the needs of the youth of the community," Schmitt said.

The council reversed its stance on skateboard parks this year after new state laws greatly reduced liability to cities that permitted them.

Mission Viejo and Laguna Niguel also are thinking about creating parks.

Costa Mesa plans to consider locations for a second skate park, but the City Council wanted to focus first on Lions Park.

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