In 2011, a group of skateboarders and their supporters started an effort to bring a series of skateparks to the Goleta Valley and Isla Vista, as the closest developed and legal landscape to shred is Skaters Point on the waterfront in Santa Barbara. While continuing to plan for a temporary park at the Goleta Valley Community Center to test the community’s needs, the Goleta Skateboarding Movement (GSM) scored a considerable victory last month when the City of Goleta agreed to include a skatepark area in the the designs for Kellogg Park in Old Town.
But their advocacy continues, and on Wednesday, August 14, at Skaters Point in Santa Barbara, GSM — in conjunction with the City of Santa Barbara’s Parks & Recreation Department and with support from Powell-Peralta, Surf Country, Arbor, and Movement Boardshop — is hosting “Speak Up for Skateboarding” at 6 p.m. The gathering, which will entice people to participate by giving each speaker a raffle ticket, is intended to brainstorm ideas for future parks while also helping to elevate the public image of the skateboarding community, which has endured a some blemishes recently due to incidents of vandalism and crime. In response to those incidents, GSM spoke before Santa Barbara’s Parks and Recreation Commission, and you can see their comments at about 1:13 in this footage.
To get a better sense of why “Speak Up for Skateboarding” is happening and what to expect, GSM’s program coordinator Rubayi Srivastava got together with co-presidents George Nagai and Elliott Rebuck to answer a few of my questions.
Due to some recent shenanigans at Skaters Point, tensions around skateboarding seem to be on the rise. Are these isolated incidents or is there some growing angst with the skaters who use the park?
In the 13-plus years that Skaters Point has been there, incidents of this nature have occurred only two to three times. Considering the popularity and heavy daily use of this city park, Skaters Point is a huge success! Isolated incidents like these can be kept to a minimum by maintaining community bonding, awareness, and responsibility.
Do incidents/behavior like that hurt the possibility of future skate parks, like the ones the GSM is advocating for?
Future skateparks are inevitable, but it is up to city staff, skateboarders, and other skatepark users to come together to minimize negative incidents and thus make future skateparks a reality sooner than later.
Were those incidents the trigger for this event?
“Speak Up for Skateboarding” was conceptualized because of a need to develop more skateparks and enhance the local skate scene. The recent incidents opened up dialogue between GSM and the City of Santa Barbara’s Parks and Recreation Department.
Who do you think should attend this?
Skateboarders, skateboarding industry members, Skater’s Point users, and parents and guardians of skateboarders.
What do you hope comes out of this meeting?
We hope that the community re-generates the energy and ownership among skateboarders and park users, and that users and city officials get to know each other a little better, and hopefully increase communication.
What’s the latest for the Goleta skateparks?
The City of Goleta held a Goleta Parks & Recreation Commission meeting on Wednesday, July 24, when designs for Hollister/Kellogg Park were discussed. Due to GSM’s participation and community mobilization, an area has been designated for skateboarding in that new park. Spohn Ranch is now the sub-contracter for design for Van Atta Associates, Inc., the landscape architects for the Hollister/Kellogg Park.
Also, the City of Goleta has asked the Goleta Valley Community Center (GVCC) to begin the building and temporary land-use permitting processes for the temporary wooden mini-ramp. The item will be discussed at one of the upcoming council meetings.
And GSM is submitting a project plan to the Isla Vista Recreation and Parks District for Perfect Park. Movement Boards hosted the first community design meeting with GSM. The second one will be held on the proposed skatepark site.
For more info on the meeting and the Goleta Skateboarding Movement, see GoSkateMove.org.