Skateparks revisited; someone tell the mayor it's not a 'backslide' 180

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By G.W. Schulz

Got a call this morning from Rich Hillis, a deputy in the Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development. He was responding to a blog entry we posted last night pointing out that the city has made lots of promises in recent years about constructing new skateparks within the city, an inexpensive gesture any city can make for providing kids with something to do. (Our original post contains plenty of links explaining where skatepark construction is in San Francisco right now.)

As we mentioned, the city has put out to bid design plans finally for the Potrero Del Sol Park, which itself has been a long-time coming and will be a much-needed addition to the poorly crafted spot the city already maintains at Crocker Amazon Park. San Francisco Tomorrow’s January newsletter contains potential designs for a new $20,000 park in Golden Gate (chump change) that could be located on the abandoned Horseshoe Pits. Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi introduced a measure yesterday that would authorize and fund its construction, a move that perhaps makes Rich’s timing not all that coincidental considering Mirkarimi's status as a potential mayoral contender.

Hillis mentioned that Newsom's office has been working for some time now on plans for a park under the freeway between Mission and Valencia streets, an idea that’s been batted about for God-knows-how-long now. Hillis said the design scheme is very tentative right now, but sketches had to be given to CalTrans before the state would consider leasing the land to the city. City employees from the Department of Human Services park there now, but Hillis said streetscape improvement money from the Octavia Blvd. project, about $2.2 million worth, could go toward a skatepark, dog run and basketball courts at the spot, with most of the money going to the skatepark.

Skaters in this town could use some decent spots. It’s almost laughable that so many other cities around the nation have managed to find the energy and money to build several skateparks, yet San Francisco, which helped birth skate and punk culture in the first place, can’t do better than de facto parks like curbs and concrete hips on private property where security guards are quick to boot anyone off.

We’re cautiously optimistic. San Francisco deserves these parks, but breaking ground seems to be a colossal task for the city’s leaders. While it’d be nice to finally see a spot in the northern tip of the Mission, completion is still a helluva long way off. Hillis admits no agreement has been worked out yet with CalTrans, and it will be even longer before the city’s community of skaters gets a chance to weigh in on the design.

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