San Juan Capistrano and Dana Point skaters may soon have a pool of their own to drop into and flat ground to practice their ollies at a new city skatepark.

Skaters in the area, community members and the San Juan Capistrano Skatepark Coalition have been advocating for a skatepark for years. Plans to build such a park have been in the works in San Juan Capistrano since residents first identified a skatepark as a community priority in a citywide survey in 2007.

The City Council on Tuesday voted 4-0 to approve a nearly $128,000 contract with Grindline Skateparks, Inc. – a Seattle based skatepark company – to create a design that integrates the park with the city’s existing community center, ecology center and sports park, as well as to prepare an estimate of the construction costs. 

Council member Derek Reeve, who sits on the city’s skatepark subcommittee, was absent.

One resident thanked the council for finally moving forward with the skatepark.

“We spend a lot of time and a lot of money going to other cities to skate. We spend money at their restaurants, we spend money everywhere doing everything. It’d be nice to have a little place for us to come and spend our money here instead,” the resident told council members at the meeting.

The entire park project has a budget of around $3.5 million. 

The park will be built on city-owned farmland operated by the ecology center. The council has directed staff to start an amendment to the farm’s specific plan to include a skatepark in the allowed uses of the land.

The skatepark is part of a partnership with the city and Dana Point which has agreed to fund the maintenance costs of the park once it’s constructed. 

“People in both of our cities want to get this done and I don’t think it would have come to fruition, or even to this point had it not been for our partners in our neighboring city. I think it’s gonna benefit both of us,” Council member Sergio Farias said at Tuesday’s meeting. “I don’t know that I would vote on this if it wasn’t for that ongoing funding because there’s a real cost to this.”

According to the current conceptual design, the skatepark will be a little over 28,000 square feet in size.

The design also highlights potential skate elements to be considered in the final plan including skateable art, quarter pipes, a large stair set equipped with hubbas and a handrail to grind, as well as spectator areas and a pool inspired by a historical skate spot in the city.

The original conceptual design was revised after challenges with a previous proposed location caused the city to move the planned skatepark to the city-owned farmland.

The final design process is expected to take between six to nine months to complete. Following approval of the designs by the City Council, San Juan Capistrano will seek a company to build the park. Construction is expected to begin by the end of the year.

Hosam Elattar is a Voice of OC Reporting Fellow. Contact him @helattar@voiceofoc.org or on Twitter @ElattarHosam

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