Special to the Sun
The Kern River Skate Park Committee meeting was opened for conversation and updates at 4:01 p.m. on February 5. The county first attempted to build a skate park in 2002. The park was intended to be an amphitheater and skate park which turned out to be quite the intricate design, however, the funds at the time were only enough to have a blueprint drawn. Lacking the capital to actually build the park, the project was put to a halt.
The initiator of this committee, Teresa Contreras, whose son was interested in skating at the time, began seeking out a skate park in 2015. The county said there was two in the valley. She came to find out about the attempt in 2002 and began accumulating information and members of the community to support the building of this skate park.
After a year of research and meetings with the county, the time and effort payed off. The county gave the conditions that the Kissack Park location could be used if the committee could raise the funds to build the skate park on their own. The committee then began applying for grants. The Tony Hawk Foundation donated $5,000, CalWater donated $9,500, and a collection of anonymous checks added up to over $34,000 in donations. The current total of accumulated funding is around $77,000. The dam project has also offered to donate over $22,000 in building materials for the park. On top of the current funds raised, there is the block grant in the amount of $110,000. This puts the communities skate park project at a net worth of over $200,000.
At a county meeting that was held on February 4, one of the committee members who had attended was told that the block grant that was donated had already been funded to the committee, however, the funds are nowhere to be seen. The committee was notified that the 100 year flood plain had to be inspected first in order to be sure the skate park wouldn’t be affected at any point. Word on whether the site is in that plain or not has yet to be confirmed.
The size of a general skate park is around 5,000 to 7,000 square feet and the aim is to build the Kern River Skate Park closer to 7,000 square feet. Once all monetary issues are dealt with, there will be a public meeting held for designing input from the community so everyone has the opportunity to have a say in the building of the skate park. The project is said to need to be done by September of 2020 in order for the block grant to be used.
For more information, you can visit the committees Facebook page “Kern River Skate Park.” You can donate at many local stores that host a skate park donations jar or on the Facebook page. In addition donations can be mailed in to California Recreation Foundation at 2809 Irwin Ave., Lake Isabella, Calif., 93240.