Guest Column

Michele Hall, 47, yoga instructor. Endorsed by Mayor Elizabeth person, Steve Dicterow, Wayne Baglin, Cheryl Kinsman, LB Taxpayers Assoc. and OC Register.
Michele Hall

Laguna Needs a Skatepark

By Michele Hall

“The process of getting a skatepark teaches kids in the community valuable lessons about perseverance and that working with their city leaders can be a positive experience.” – Tony Hawke

The idea of building a skatepark in Laguna Beach is something that has been talked about for many years. It seems that everyone wants the park, but no one wants it to be built in their own backyard. In my opinion, misconceptions about skateboarders in general are the driving force behind locals not wanting a park built near them. Residents concerns in the past have included noise, increased traffic/parking, and even an increase in crime. The truth is skateparks are good for the community and give local youth a place to be active, healthy and busy.

According to the Tony Hawke Foundation website, “a skatepark is a place where skaters get together and enjoy the space, the camaraderie, and the physical thrill of riding. An outdoor, open, highly visible location–as most skateparks are–is not the place to bully kids, use drugs, or be a nuisance. Skaters are there for a reason, and are generally very good at policing each other about behavior that interferes with their enjoying the park.” We have so many kids in our community who skate and providing a safe, monitored environment for them to carry out their sport is something that our community needs and should have. Residents need to let go of pre-conceived ideas and embrace the idea of actually building a skatepark.

Local resident Steve Shipp and a former member of the nationally famous Hobie skateboarding team has this to say about the park where he grew up skating. “The Irvine skatepark provided a generation of kids the opportunity to play, compete and grow in a healthy, outdoor and safe environment. The park allowed me personally to experience an extraordinary life at a very young age. Laguna needs to do the same for our kids.”

This is Laguna Beach and when we build things, we build them well, especially when we involve our locally talented artists. I envision the new skatepark as a work of art. Skateparks are, in general, geometric shapes connected by pathways of cement. Inviting local artists and LCAD students to contribute to the design of the project could end up proudly making the skatepark one of Laguna’s most famous landmarks. Creating amazing tile mosaic designs on the outside of the walls and “urban art” on the inside walls are just a few of the endless possibilities. Let’s work with residents to ensure that the location which is finally chosen for the skatepark will positively impact the neighborhood by creating a unique and artistic recreation facility.

Building a Laguna Beach skatepark will provide a positive, healthy and outdoor environment for kids and adults alike and now is the time to see it through. If you are interested in supporting the effort to promote the skatepark, this Saturday, March 28, at 9 a.m. the Laguna Beach Republican Club is sponsoring a nonpartisan meeting at the Boys and Girls Club. Fletcher Berryman, who is 25 and grew up in Laguna, will be speaking about the history of the efforts to get the skatepark built. Berryman has been working on this issue since he was 10 years old.

The more people that attend and show their support, the better our chances of seeing the park built. Laguna needs a skatepark.

The author is an appointee to the city’s Recreation Committee and ran unsuccessfully for office in November championing a skatepark.




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  1. I remember Michelle Hall contributing this Excellent idea during the City Council forums, and I was impressed then, and More impressed now.

    I congratulate Michelle for her efforts and support of this important project for our youth, even the 45 year olds. It is important that our citizens have a safe,
    recreation area for the ever increasingly popular sport of skate boarding.

    Keeping the younger generation busy with this sporting park will give them a local place to safely skate board, instead of using Laguna Beach’s UNSAFE streets.
    The park will also be a cure to the theory of “idle hands, idle minds, lead to”


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