Micaiah Furukawa nails a big-air ollie in front of the Goleta Valley Community Center.

Paul Wellman

Micaiah Furukawa nails a big-air ollie in front of the Goleta Valley Community Center.

Goleta Takes Small Step Toward Skate Plaza

But Proponents Say 5,000-Square-Foot Design Is Too Small

The Goleta Skateboarding Movement is preparing to notch an appreciable but modest victory as the Goleta City Council prepares to move forward with a design of a multi-use park on Hollister and Kellogg Avenues that includes a small skateboarding plaza. Despite this step toward broader skating opportunities in the city — as well as the prospect of a $5,000 grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation — Goleta’s foremost skating organization says it still has a ways to go before its sport is given its due.

Though Goleta has a rich skateboarding history, making significant leeway in expanding skateboarding infrastructure has required persistent engagement with the community and local government; according to Goleta Skateboarding Movement (GSM) co-president George Nagai, the organization has been attending virtually all of the city council and recreational activity meetings of late.

But at around 5,000 square feet, says Nagai, the planned skate plaza is small enough to only be safely used by around five skaters at a time. Skater’s Point in Santa Barbara — the area’s most prominent choice of skate park — is nearly three times as large.

“We’re trying to educate the council that in order to have an effective and safe skate plaza, it does need to have certain standards as far as sizing goes,” he said. “But now, they’re shooting for 5,000 square feet — that’s basically about half of what they need as a minimum-size neighborhood skate park.”

Goleta was one of 10 cities across the U.S. to be offered a summer 2015 skate park grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation, which builds such parks in underprivileged areas and was founded by the eponymous skateboarding legend. In order to receive the $5,000 grant, GSM must raise an equal amount, which it’s currently doing through events like September 20’s Orchid Skate Jam near El Capitán State Beach.

GSM’s next big event, which will serve as another fundraiser, will be SB Open Streets on October 24 on Cabrillo Blvd., and will feature skate lessons, booths, a street course, and “tarp surfing.”

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