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Skaters' Hard Sell Pays Off

Moorpark: Skateboard enthusiasts persuade panel to back a concrete park rather than a cheaper modular one.

January 14, 2002|KEVIN F. SHERRY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Responding to the pleas of a dozen skateboarders, the Moorpark Parks and Recreation Commission has endorsed building a concrete skate park, rather than a less-expensive modular model.

Skaters prefer concrete to modular parks because of their speed, resistance to weathering and consistency, said Mike Dillehay, owner of Transition Board Shop in Moorpark. Dillehay was among those who addressed the commission last week before it voted to recommend the City Council build a concrete park with an in-ground bowl.

"It stays the same, and you can continually [challenge] yourself to do something bigger, better," Dillehay said.

A modular, aboveground park costs about $220,000, while a 12,000-square-foot concrete park is about $310,000, said Mary Lindley, the city's director of community services. Skaters and some commission members said they plan to push for a 16,000-square-foot design that includes an in-ground bowl.

Location for Park Still Undetermined

Dillehay said he and his customers would be willing to raise money to support the larger design.

"There's no way that we should be slighted," he said. "There's a lot of kids in this town and they deserve it."

Commissioner Joseph Catrambone said he had concerns about spending so much money on a project only for kids who skate, but the skaters' testimony impressed him.

At its meeting next month, the commission plans to discuss where to put the park. Options include Arroyo Vista Community Park or Griffin Park.

"I'm so happy they're doing it right, I almost don't care," Dillehay said. Now most kids skate at Moorpark College, at public schools or in parking lots, he said, "and they all get kicked out."

Commissioner Says He Understands

Catrambone said he can relate to the skaters both through his grandchildren and from his own childhood experiences.

When Catrambone was a youth, he and his friends would cut boards into 30-inch sections and attach metal roller-skates to each end, creating makeshift skateboards.

They were nothing like the current boards, of course.

"We didn't do a lot of crazy things like they do today," he said.

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