Skaters to get park in Gardena

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champSkateboard parks have been a politically sensitive issue in the city for years. Councilman Steve Bradford, a strong proponent of the idea, has fueled much of the drive. In 2002, county Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke gave the city $150,000 to build one. But a 2004 plan to build a skate park in the north – at El Segundo Boulevard and Wilton Place – fell through when residents balked at the idea of throngs of teens hanging out on their block. On Dec. 11, the Gardena City Council voted unanimously to pursue a skate park at Arthur Johnson, even though Bradford and Councilwoman Rachel Johnson said it should be at Rowley Park, which is on the city’s northern edge. “My only concern is that Arthur Johnson Park won’t service the whole city. And we’ll have many little skateboarders skating on curbs and rails all over the city, in our neighborhoods, and putting themselves at risk,” Johnson said, before voting to approve the plans. Brian Naulls lives only two miles from a proposed skate park in Gardena, but it might as well be a world away for the 12-year-old. His home near Bell Park, where he and his friends skate, is in the center of the city. Arthur Johnson Park, where the city’s first skate park is set to be built, is on the southern edge. Naulls enjoys performing ollies and kick flips, but Arthur Johnson Park is just too far away for him to get there on his own. “My mom might take me, but not every day,” Naulls said, of the skate park. Arthur Johnson made it to the top of the list because it has an unused blacktop area, Director of Recreation and Human Services Kelly Fujio said. The city’s other parks would be forced to lose either green space or some recreation area like tennis or basketball courts to make way for the skate ramps, she said. Rowley Park is not feasible because it is already overused, she said. Fujio said she believes the city should have higher priorities – a teen or senior center, maybe a dog park. Or, even better, facilities for park visitors who are physically handicapped. “Our parks are overburdened as it is for open space,” Fujio said. “We would really not want to see (a skate park) at any of our parks. But, if we had to choose a location, we chose one that can hold it.” Holly Park Homeowners Association President Tasha Cerda said she supports the skate park, though she hasn’t heard much opinion from residents one way or the other. Cerda also said she doubts that kids from the north side of the city would make it down to Arthur Johnson. “We would like to see one inside Rowley Park,” she said. “I do see kids skating everywhere. They skate at vacant parking lots, off the inclines. I think it would get a lot of these kids off the street.” Cheryl Sherman, a member of Friends of Gardena Willows Wetlands Preserve, said she doesn’t think the skate park would affect the willows, which are adjacent to Arthur Johnson Park. “I think it needs to be a place that’s multifunctional. If it were a teen center and a skateboard park, I think that would be real good because, if you could draw them in there to skate, there’s a good chance you could draw them in for teen activities,” Sherman said. The next step for the city will be getting skaters to attend community meetings to make suggestions for the skate park’s design. “My concern now is that we reach these young folks that we see every day skateboarding throughout the community, and really get their buy-in on this,” Bradford said. “I think it’s key that their voices are heard.” [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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