Rodriguez: Skate Parks Beneficial to Overall Youth Health

Santa Ana needs to build more skate able features at new city parks such as rails, stairs, small ramps, and ledges.

Incorporating a more skateable design at city parks will eliminate potential problems such as neighborhood skaters being kicked out of business areas where they find ramps and stairs to skate on, and inadvertently endanger their lives near high-traffic streets.

I have a lot of experience to offer on this particular topic. I am an avid, self-taught skater and have been meeting with skating professionals and experts on how skating can benefit lives and communities. I taught myself to skate because I was inspired by a potential skate project that I, and other young people, are trying to make come true. My friends and I have been to multiple city council meetings to discuss the need for more skateable spaces in Santa Ana parks. I’ve met with skate companies to discuss draft plans for our dream skate park, and I’ve researched what types of skate spaces are beneficial to overall youth health and learned that while some youth spend most of their time indoors, playing video games and snacking on junk food, youth who skate learn to overcome challenges, are more physically active, and often discover a new “family” to spend time with.

It is important that this project be prioritized and completed because kids in Santa Ana will continue to ride their boards, and use whatever skateable space is available, even if it is risky and unsafe. Sadly, Santa Ana is known as a Park Poor City because of our overall lack of green and open spaces. Essentially, there is no room for Santa And youth to have fun and be safe without the danger of cars zooming by. Having skate spaces at city parks will give skaters a designated place to improve their skills, and business and property owners won’t be bothered by them. A win-win! This is especially true at City Hall where skaters often congregate near the parking lot. Skate parks require little maintenance since all they need are concrete stairs, ledges, and some ramps. Skating spaces promote health for youth and provides an alternative to hanging around on the streets. Skating is one of the safest sports compared to soccer, baseball, and basketball. According to Sean Bowes,  about 8.9 out of 1,000 skater are injured while 21.2 out of 1,000 basketball players are sent to the ER. Skating is about as safe as playing H-O-R-S-E. Skaters will use the space, build a new community, maintenance won’t be a hassle, obesity levels will drop, and Santa Ana will become a more green city. One park at a time.

I am willing to offer my time and effort to make this project a dream come true. I will give my input at community meetings, I will do the research and gather resources to continue this project. Skate features at parks will make our city greener and healthier, and youth will finally have a decent place to have fun without getting into trouble.

Give skaters the space they need because all of Santa Ana will benefit from having more physically active young people. A full-on skatepark will be our next mission, but for now, space to skate at a local park is enough to keep the skaters active.

Marcos Rodriguez is involved with YASC Youth for active and safe communities @yasc_sa. He goes to church, graduated from Samueli Academy and will be going to basic training in the army in September.

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