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Council OKs Full Study of Skate Park

May 24, 2000|ANA BEATRIZ CHOLO Ana Beatriz Cholo, (714) 966-5890 | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Eager to avert a lawsuit, the Cypress City Council unanimously voted Monday to order an environmental impact report on a proposed skate park in Veterans Park.

Skaters and park opponents packed the council chambers, sitting on opposite sides of the room. Plans for a park for skaters and skateboarders have been a contentious subject for the last three years, with committees and task forces looking at every alternative.

The latest design, displayed at the meeting, showed a scaled-down, 4,000-square-foot plaza that looked like a small amphitheater. The oval, concrete facility would be heavily landscaped and available for use only during daylight. It is expected to cost about $75,000.

A traffic and environmental review was conducted as directed by the council earlier in the year, but about a dozen residents from a nearby neighborhood spoke out against the park and asked for a full environmental report. They will now get their wish, said Community Development Director Alice Angus.

"Putting it in Veterans Park and then putting it next to the tot lot is the most foolish thing I've ever heard," said Jerry Quinn, who, along with several other residents, is being represented by an attorney. A letter from the attorney to city staff outlined the reasons they thought a complete report is needed.

Other complaints about the park include increased traffic and noise, liability issues and public safety.

Councilman Frank S. McCoy, the only one opposed to the skate facility at that location, was absent Monday but had a statement read explaining his reasons. In it, he asked why the city would force this on people who don't want it.

Several skaters, some of whom had worked on the plan, said the park was a good compromise between the city and wishes of the residents. One teenager said damage to public property would also be greatly reduced because skaters would have a designated place to go.

Timothy Walters, 17, has been active in the planning of a skate park since the beginning. An avid skateboarder and in-line skater, he said he remembers being harassed by police for doing what he loves--skating.

"People just don't get the point that the kids need someplace to go," Walters said. Although the proposed plaza is smaller, he is pleased with its design.

"We're teenagers. We're going to take what we can get," he said. "We've been waiting for so long, it would be such a waste to give in to those people. I understand that people don't want it there but it's not their park, it's the city's park."

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