Redesign submitted for Monterey Park two years after council vote for that site
By Jondi Gumz, Santa Cruz Sentinel
CAPITOLA >> Parents of skateboarders hope city officials will respond favorably to their design for a 6,000-square-foot skate park at Monterey Park next to New Brighton Middle School.
“We have submitted plans for their approval. We’re waiting to hear,” said parent Tricia Proctor.
“We wanted to design a really great park,” said parent Marie Martorella.
Both were active in 2012 when the council voted 3-2 for a 6,000-square-foot skate park at Monterey Park.
The size was a compromise.
Monterey Park neighbors opposed a proposal for a 9,000-square-foot skate park, and the council majority called for a smaller park.
Proctor and Martorella said it took time to raise money for a redesign, which was done by Dreamland, which mapped out the 9,000-square-foot version.
“We had private donors lined up for the 9,000-square-foot park, and some pulled out,” Proctor said. “It takes time and cost money to get the plans revised.”
Added Martorella, “We have private donors who will pay for the park at Monterey.”
Her children see advantages to Monterey Park.
“There’s a sidewalk, there’s grass,” said Jason Martorella, 9.
“There’s a parking lot,” added his sister Mikaela, 15.
A year ago, while parents were responding to the city’s direction, city officials began looking at plans for a park at an empty city-owned lot on McGregor Drive near the freeway and New Brighton State Beach, seeing no interest from developers to build a hotel there and assuming private funding for a smaller skate park had evaporated.
At meetings not attended by parents of skateboarders, the council adopted plans for a 12,500-square-foot dog park, 9,500-square-foot pump track and 10,300-square-foot skate park for the 4-acre McGregor site, allocated funds for improvements and began soliciting private sponsorships for the facilities.
Marc Monte, owner of Deluxe Foods and founder of an annual fireworks fundraiser for schools, offered to put on a Capitola show dedicating proceeds to the skate park, which was accepted by the city.
He’s committed $50,000, according to city public works director Steve Jesberg.
Proctor and Martorella say McGregor Drive is not ideal for skateboarders because of its location.
There is no sidewalk, only the street for kids on skateboards.
“Imagine a mom pushing a stroller with her kids and maybe a dog trying to get to McGregor,” said Proctor.
In the future, there may be a path where the rail line is now, offering safe access to the McGregor lot, but there’s no timetable for that project.
Martorella said she has concern about drug activity in that area, noting a recent find of heroin needles on the sidewalk at the end of Park Avenue and Monterey Avenue.
Proctor concurred, saying, “I don’t feel it’s safe.”
They said they are working to get support from Monterey Park neighbors.
At a special meeting July 31, the council voted 4-1, with Mayor Sam Storey opposed, to award a bid for the McGregor Park improvements to Earthworks Paving of Capitola but hold back on skate park infrastructure until they see the skate park design. The yes votes came amid misgivings.
Councilman Dennis Norton said McGregor Drive is “probably the worst location” for a skate park.
“I don’t believe it’s the best location because of the access,” Councilman Ed Bottorff said.
Councilman Michael Termini said it was “critical” for a pedestrian path to be built to the McGregor Park site and called for funding in a future city budget.
“We all have reservations on the location, ” said Councilwoman Stephanie Harlan. “I’m wiling to go along with it and try it.”