Goleta Skateboarding Movement (GSM) advocates made headway last week in their ongoing efforts to construct a permanent skate park in Isla Vista. About a dozen skaters attended a board meeting at the Isla Vista Recreation and Park District and convinced the boardmembers to refrain from utilizing the west side of Perfect Park — located at the intersection of Embarcadero del Mar and Embarcadero del Norte — for a parking lot.
Boardmembers had entertained the idea of utilizing the space for parking and installing 14 spots to generate roughly $10,000 a year, money that the district could use to fix broken fences and restore bathrooms — an $80,000 project — at Anisq’Oyo’ Park. But after back and forth between trustees and audience members — one claimed he has participated in efforts to get a permanent skate park in I.V. since 1989 — the board moved to keep the space unoccupied until enough funds could be secured to develop a permanent park. Trustees acknowledged the ongoing desire for a skate park but also mentioned the “dollars and cents” issue and that they have civil responsibility to keep up public spaces in Isla Vista.
Per the compromise, the east side of Perfect Park and Estero Park will be utilized as a parking lot, generating monthly permit money from 12 spots. Twenty percent of those proceeds will be set aside to add to funds to create a new park — an action that is more of a morale booster than actual moneymaker for the skaters.
Two temporary skate parks have existed at the west side of Perfect Park in the past. The last one was torn down last spring after the wooden skate park was damaged by weather and BMX bikers. The park was always intended to be temporary, an audience member added. (Salvaged parts from the ramp were moved and reconstructed at a private property in Isla Vista.)
Leading the skating momentum since 2011 is the Goleta Skateboarding Movement, a nonprofit that seeks to enhance skate culture in the area by eventually constructing six parks along the Hollister corridor. Three people leading the efforts are Elliot Rebuck, George Nagai, and Rubayi Srivastava. Rebuck and Nagai are copresidents of GSM and have reached out to community members and students. Srivastava is the program coordinator and handles the finance side of their efforts.
Rebuck explained several factors — vision, outreach, advocacy, design, and construction — are incorporated into the process of GSM’s ultimate mission. The plans for Isla Vista include uniting UCSB students — who often only live in the petite town for four years — with young kids growing up I.V. “A lot of people forget about the little kids. That’s their neighborhood,” Rebuck said, explaining the nature of a skate park can bridge the gap between the locals and the students. “If you go to a basketball parks you rarely see an 8-year-old playing with someone in their twenties.” Further, skate parks are crucial in Isla Vista and Goleta because many skaters cannot make it to Skaters Point downtown.
“It’s too hard to say when we’ll actually reach the goal,” Rebuck said. “The work is being done every single day. We’re working on other sites as well.” But he said Isla Vista has recently become a priority. He said he’s hoping to do more work with UCSB students to raise money and build momentum for the movement.
The district’s general manager, Rodney Gould, said the two approved lots probably won’t start generating money until after February, and he still has to work out the details in terms of allocating the money specifically for a stake park. An ad hoc committee will be established to further the process.