Plans for a Permanent Skate Park Site Start to Take Shape
• City Council Poised to Spend $40,000 for Design Plans in an RFP to Be Finalized Next Week
BY BILL KOENEKER
The Malibu City Council is prepared to spend up to $40,000 for design services for a new skate park at Malibu Bluffs Park.
Skate park enthusiasts last week praised the council's direction, while details of the plans were not revealed until the release of the council's agenda packet.
The call for design services is for a permanent multi-use facility at Bluffs Park.
Last year, the city council formed a Skate Park Ad Hoc Committee to address the loss of the city's skate park. The committee comprised of outgoing Councilmembers Jefferson Wagner and Pamela Conley Ulich, were tasked with assessing the need for a permanent or temporary skate park, identifying potential locations with favorable zoning and community acceptance and researching funding sources and costs for new park construction.
The panel assessed several options for construction of a temporary skate park. Of the sites considered, a portion of the Malibu Bluffs Park parking lot was deemed the most feasible location
"Staff is currently working on a plan to establish a temporary skate facility at the park, including negotiating an agreement with the adjacent property owner to use a portion of his land for parking," wrote Bob Stallings, the city's parks and recreation director, in a memo to council members.
During subsequent meetings, according to city officials, community skaters expressed interest in placing a higher priority on constructing a permanent skate park in Malibu.
"During those discussions, Michael McIntyre, representing Action Sports Design (a company specializing in skate park design), presented an idea for a permanent skate facility along the southern edge of the Malibu Bluffs Park" added Stallings. "The concept introduced was for a mixed-used skate plaza that would combine challenging skate features with pedestrian friendly pathways and landscaping amid a skate park."
The design could include an all-wheel design that would allow BMX and rollerblade uses. There was also discussion of a traditional style permanent skate park in the southwest corner of the park to be used, according to Stallings, exclusively for skateboarding.
Last week, the council directed the staff to return with an item for the issue of a Request for Proposal or RFP for design services for a permanent skate facility at Malibu Bluffs Park.
"The proposed scope of work for the RFP will include tasks for community outreach, conceptual design, schematic design, final design development and construction documents.. the design work would include conceptual and schematic design, grading and drainage plans, community meetings to discuss needs and final construction documents and specifications," the staff report states.
Conley Ulich and Wagner announced last week at the council meeting they had reached a tentative agreement for locating the skate park at Bluffs Park.
A contingent of skate park enthusiasts came to council chambers Monday night to laud members for the probable relocation of the city-operated Papa Jack's skate park, which closed last year.
Wagner and Conley Ulich told other council members, who have not been privy to the negotiations, that the tentative agreement is an outgrowth of the last skate park meeting held just before Christmas.
Councilmember Lou La Monte, who acknowledged he was just now hearing the news, said, " You know a lot more than we have. I heard about Bluffs Park. We deserve a world-class park," he said.
Conley Ulich said the next move is to issue a RFP at the next council meeting on Jan. 23.
Wagner said, "We elected to do this as a ad hoc committee."
"Now it is up to the city council," said Conley Ulich.
City Manager Jim Thorsen said the old equipment is expected to be relocated to the new site and the agreement is being routed through attorneys. The municipal staff is currently looking at the cost for the move over to the Bluffs Park.
The city council several months ago unanimously voted to authorize the city manager to negotiate and sign a short-term lease/permitting agreement not to exceed $35,000 annually to relocate the city-run skate park.
The council agreed to attach a Dec. 1 2011 deadline and if no offers were finalized, the ramps would be moved to the parking lot behind City Hall. Members upped the ante from $10,000 to $35,000 after a representative, acting on behalf of Steve Soboroff, presented the council with a check for $25,000 promised for relocation costs and $2500 for a farewell party the city had recently sponsored.
Almost 10 months ago, the city received notice of termination of the skate park agreement. The new owners including Soboroff needed to get back the land for an Environmental Impact Report that is about to begin on the property for a Whole Foods anchored shopping center. Soboroff said recently a lease has been signed by the Whole Foods Company.
After further consideration, Soboroff agreed to extend the use of the property through Oct. 31, 2011 to allow more time for the city to relocate the park.
The council had heard from a number of speakers who each had their own idea of what the city should do.
Hamish Patterson, now considering a run for city council, reminded the council skateboarding is also an adult sport and that the city should consider building a world-class facility that includes new equipment rather than the old ramps.
Conley Ulich said the city had set up a fund in 2008, but nobody contributed money in anticipation of the removal of the skate park.
Municipal officials have always talked about using the parking lot at Malibu Bluffs Park.
However, planners insisted the feasibility of relocating to the site is dependent on the use of the privately owned property adjacent to the park to offset the loss of parking spaces.
The committee also considered relocating the skate park to the west end of the Zuma Beach parking lot # 12.
As a follow up, the city manager and parks officials met with the Los Angeles County Beaches and Harbors Deputy Director Kerry Silverstrom to discuss the potential use of the Zuma Beach parking lot.
"The county staff was receptive to the idea and requested time to fully vet the city's request before committing to the relocation," Stallings noted.
Wagner said the problem in relocating the park is the difficulty in securing property. "It is not a matter of will," Wagner said in addressing the critics at a previous meeting. "We are not sitting on our hands. And I agree the park should be for all ages."
Other costs include moving the ramps, possible fencing, windscreens, resurfacing, access gates and office trailer and utility connections.
"Until the relocation site has been identified, the projected costs are anticipated to range from $15,000-$50,000. Once a final location is determined, staff will present a budget to the city council for approval," Stallings concluded in a previous staff report.
For more than 12 years, the city had maintained an agreement at no cost to use vacant land that was called Papa Jack's skate park.