Hemet Skateboard Park feasibility study approved by city council

After many years of petitions, city council appearances, fundraising attempts and the appointment of a Skate Park Plaza Task Force, plans and hopes for a skate park facility for youth in Hemet is finally moving forward.

Councilwoman Bonnie Wright, an longtime advocate of building a state-of-the-art skateboard park in the city, was smiling at the June 27 city council meeting as she led to way to getting the city council’s approval for a $10,000 to $20,000 feasibility study for the skate park through the city’s master plan.

Citing the two skate park developers who have already come forward seeking to build the facility and the work completed by the Skate Park Plaza Task Force appointed by the council about a year ago which showed the continuing interest in building the recreational offering, Wright said, “We have worked on it for a year now.” During a work study session called just hours before the June 27 meeting, the council heard Wright say that there have been many other unsuccessful efforts to get the skate park off the ground and suggested the city invest in a feasibility study.

She said the project is very important to the youth in the community and has been long overdue. She noted that it is important that the city meet the recreational needs of all the residents in the city including the youth to provide safe places for them to play and to enjoy.

The council unanimously approved that a feasibility study go forward on the skate park, but at this time, no location has been identified and no money is available for its immediate construction. It is estimated that building a full-service skateboard park would cost between $120,000 to $500,000, according to skateboard park fundraising websites.

A movement by citizens in Hemet began about five years ago to build a skate park for the many youths and adults who enjoy the sport. Other cities like Menifee, Murrieta and Temecula have built skate parks that are in regular use.

As long ago as 2008, skateboard enthusiasts, Roxy Rogel and Kimberlyn Jacobsen, came to the Hemet City Council with a petition seeking the construction of a skate park in Hemet. The petitions bore almost 50 signatures and the petition was filed, but without funding, the city was unable to do much about building it.

The petition said, “If there is a new skate park created, the skateboarders of the city would show their athleticism, abilities and creativity. By building a skate park, skateboarders would focus positively instead of negatively.”

Since then, requests for a skate park continue to be submitted to the city and City Park Commissioner Nicole Tamez. With those requests in mind, the commission was formed a year ago, and studies into its feasibility began. She told the council she was confident such a facility could be in operation within 18 months. The only thing that would hold up the project would be funding.

She said the committee looked into the city purchase of a number of different land sites, but the cost would be prohibitive. Tamez suggested the city should continue to seek other properties that might be more reasonably priced. The feasibility study will look into that possibility and other fundraising avenues.

It will take time, the council noted.

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