Brand New Skate Park: Confusion & Concerns (Opinions)

The city just posted an update on the new skate park that will be built near our Recreation center [LINK]. What, now it’s near the rec center? Whatever happened to near the boardwalk??

Back in August of this year I posted two articles regarding this skate park.

  1. The first one was the rumor: RUMOR ALERT: Is a new Skatepark coming to the boardwalk area?
  2. The second was a confirmation, based on the Capital Improvement Plan 2014/15 Capital Budget:  A Skate Park is coming in 2015: RUN FOR THE HILLS, THE END IS NEAR! (opinion)

So at last night’s city council meeting, a bunch of local skaters raised their concern over the type of park the city plans on building, as well as who was going to build it. I know nothing about skate park developers, so I am waiting to hear back from local skater group: Help Long Beach get a new skatepark for more info on that. But the type of park and location are the topics I’m interested in. Here is my take:

LOCATION CONFUSION: I first heard this skate park would be near the boardwalk. Now it seems like this park is actually going near the Recreation center; not in the current skate park location, but a new location. I don’t know….. seems like a bit of a disappointment, but I guess the city wants to better utilize the recreation center area more, so I guess this makes sense… but oh the missed opportunity here. I already did an entire post on the endless possibles regarding events, the attraction, the entertainment a skatepark near the boardwalk could bring. Read about all that here: 2014/15 Capital Budget:  A Skate Park is coming in 2015: RUN FOR THE HILLS, THE END IS NEAR! (opinion).

Missed opportunity also with the iStar-factor:  How no public concessions on the superblock were in place for development. Municipalities do this all the time: You want to build some major development? ok, but do this for the public on this little piece of land. I know this happens. (Meet me in person and I will tell you how I know.) The superblock would have been a PERFECT area for a skatepark, but instead we are going to get humungous open air parking lots and it will all look so typical and generic. Yeah, I wrote about all this already (http://www.seabythecity.com/?p=21317)

The attraction and presentation of our city is very important. Not just for potential residents, but for us living here right now! People off the LIRR are walking past Urine, Drugs, Vomit, Graffiti, Garbage only to walk to our beach and be greeted with a giant parking lot. They won’t get a chance to see the skate park because they are not going to the Recreation center at all.  I know if I came off that train, walked to the beach and saw a skate park, I would  think of Long Beach as a pretty damn cool town with lots of things going on here that you don’t see elsewhere in NY. This is the kinda stuff that actually attracts those young adults who are moving off Long Island.

I realize this skatepark isn’t being made solely to attract tourists to live here, but I just wish we had better planners, developers, thinkers and architects out there thinking out side of the box. To try to come up with a way to make things work in the right locations, not these second rate (rec center) areas where it will be lost. Skate parks aren’t for everybody, but while us older folks had Nunley’s, movie theaters and soda shops to hang out at, the kids of today need a place too. Besides, it’s highly entertaining to watch a good skater in a bowl.

MATERIAL CONFUSION: If you look at Facebook group Help Long Beach get a new skatepark, you can see what the local skaters want: cement. There seems to be concern that pre-fab material will be used, although the city did say they are holding public meetings regarding the design. Nothing seems to be concrete (pun intended) yet. My understanding is this: If the skatepark is not cement, the city shouldn’t even bother building it. That is the opinion I have, not as a skater, but as a one-time BMXer who used to hang out with skaters when I was younger. Cement is the way to go. I can’t wait to here more on this topic as we move forward.

Well, here is the flyer that the city just posted today:

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21 thoughts on “Brand New Skate Park: Confusion & Concerns (Opinions)”

  1. Why is the website listed on the about page of “Help Long Beach get a new skatepark ” facebook page a skate park developer? Is that an “astroturf” group or is it local to LB?

    btw I think it is great the city is building a skate park.

  2. “they are holding public meetings regarding the design”. When the hell is everybody going to awake from this collective stupor? See that policeman getting coffee at Mobil Mart? Every 4 years we give him a million dollars. See that collection of Beach Maintenance bosses standing around? We throw them a million each every 5 years. Look at that poor Sanitation boss and that retiree, we prolong their agony 6 years before they get their million. A skate park is wonderful, but seriously people, is this what we need public meetings about?. IT’S ALL SMOKE AND MIRRORS. There is no way in hell Long Beach can sustain the spending and bonding, Why don’t we have a public meeting about SNCH flipping the hospital property with the help of Al D’amato’s own VP at Park Strategies and his developer buddy that were installed on the Board of Trustees at SNCH? Walking away with 180 million in FEMA funds deserves a public meeting and maybe a dopey comment by the next two city council members up for re-election like every other issue they forcibly chime in on. Where is the skate park money coming from anyway? How about a nice smooth concrete street in town first? I really don’t give a sh%$ if people get off the train and say to themselves “I think of Long Beach as a pretty damn cool town”. I must not be hip, I thought affordability was the new “cool”.

  3. @Terrance2608, Chillax bruh.Or better still, go mongo-foot yourself into a McTwist off the Magnolia Pier. When you do finally start paying taxes, you’ll realize that public input meetings on skate park surfacing is a little less important than the closure of institutions that cost the community thousands of jobs and tens of millions out of the local economy. People need to get real with the issues facing this City.

  4. CAVE Dweller’s right – take the skate park out of it. You can be for it and awake to the fact that LB is looking pretty unsustainable. But CAVE, if you’re not at the council meetings being vocal, you should be.

  5. Wherever it is, a new skate park will be an excellent addition to LB. I agree something at the BW would be best, but given that is all private land, as far as I know, I don’t see that happening. On the material used, a prefab type park will look like garbage in a few years. I’ve been to a number here (including the existing LB park), and in Baldwin, South Carolina, Massachusetts, etc.and they simply do not hold up. In contrast, the Rockaway Skate Park looks fantastic and will be that way for years. Not sure what’s in the budget, though, as I suspect a concrete park is a lot more $$$.

  6. You aren’t hip. Young adults are moving off Long Island because it’s lame. I hate to use slang terms like that, but it’s the truth. They would rather spend a ton of money living in expensive Brooklyn and Manhattan than to spend a ton of money living in expensive Long Island.

    We need to find ways to attract young adults back to the island to keep our tax base going – they are the ones who spend money, and eventually entrepreneur. Not complacent old people like myself.

    That is why I care when people get off the train and say to themselves “I think of Long Beach as a pretty damn cool town”

    I wish some of you saw this point of view, but you think it’s just cost of living. Tell that to all my friends who would rather spend the same amount of money in Brooklyn in a tiny apartment, than living near the beach. Young adults care about what is HIP these days.

  7. Perhaps I will have to plead ignorance here Anthony, but is there a surplus of housing in Long Beach? Are rentals and houses going unsold? You just informed us that the “Realtor of the Year” for Long Island is operating in Long Beach. How can it be that the rent is “too damn high” and at the same time everyone is leaving? I don’t think we need to add amusement and indulgences for the hip people. I think we need to stop giving policemen 1 million dollars every 4 years and creating overpaid positions for family and friends. Long Beach is in debt 10 of millions, maybe even a hundred million, and we have public outcry over how to surface a skate park. What about real issues like jobs to bolster a city? Know a few hundred cool nurses? Maybe some hip doctors? Beatnik x-ray techs? Surfing PT’s? Here’s an idea to get young people back to Long Beach, Don’t let D’Amato and his cronies on the Board of SNCH flip the Hospital Property and walk off with 180 million from FEMA. Build your skatepark at taxpayer expense. We should have something for everyone. How about Skudin Stables?

  8. Here is a simple breakdown of the design basics behind skate parks,
    http://www.skateparkguide.com/design_basics.html

    Its good news that a known LA Skate Park developer, Spohn Ranch, will be involved. If you just use a regular developer, it can get real expensive, and it will most likely go very wrong.
    I would like to think that we can find better materials(pre-fab) in today’s day and age, but this just isn’t the case. Cement is the way to go, and we’re not talking laying down a slab over dirt. Done right, this park will be modern and progressive, last a very long time, and most important to all cities, maintenance cost will be low and good on the city budget.

    As for location, we should always try to re-use available land for development. Although having it by the boardwalk would be great, unless there is profit to be made, a private property holder will not see the benefit. Build it by the Rec Center, re-using available land, and at the same time it would help to make the Rec Center more of an appealing destination. Let’s face it, the distance from the LIRR station to the beach in one direction vs to the Rec Center in the other is almost the same.

    Nothing is far on Long Beach, and not everything can be on the beach. We should be improving all coastlines of LB, not just the main attraction. At the end of the day, reduce, re-use and re-cycle.

  9. I am not disagreeing with what you are saying, but please explain to me why I know so many people who would rather live in Brooklyn or Manhattan than on Long Island? All three of those places are expensive, with the later giving you more living space.

  10. CAVE: regarding the housing, I am not sure what is going on. I do know that I walk around and Long Beach looks deserted. So many houses look empty. Look up that post I did two weeks ago regarding park avenue businesses. it was a Saturday night and Park ave was dead. Not really booming for a city where people ‘feel’ is overly populated with parking and traffic issues.

    I have seen and heard about the economic impact a really good skatepark can bring to an area. It’s not just a place for kids to hang out. There are folks who will come here from all over and skate and spend money here, if the park is good. it works all over California.

  11. Excellent points. Hoping the Transportation Department is planning a better route to the Rec area now for those that want to use the skateboard park slated for Summer 2015 completion.

    Anthony had an excellent route for the “underused what is that , where does it go Trolley”. Here’s an excellent opportunity to bring life and commerce to the area. Perhaps in the Spring/Summer/Fall months a food truck will alternate or a smaller commercial business for the area.

    The new Ice Arena vendor just received the thumbs up perhaps they can sell decks or rent skateboards or have one of the local surf shops alternate weeks to serve the visitors that come sans skateboard and helmets but would like to give it a go. I prefer the later as Moku, Unsound, LB Surf and the others have the experience with skateboard community.

    Summer camp will also effect the use of the Skateboard Park as well.

    Planning. It’s a good thing. Start now.

  12. Anthony, (or anyone else) please, I’m begging now, expound on this economic impact. Really do the math. I Googled “cost to build a skatepark”. The quick results are upwards of a half million (most likely more in NY) Not a lot of money, but still an expenditure. Ok, so have at it. How much do we get back from admission? How much does the City make from a privately owned food truck? What are maintenance costs? What is the likelihood that the City hires another salaried, pensioned, rec center employee and what will that cost? Cost of policing, sanitation, insurance, lawsuits, etc??? Outline the revenue from “folks who will come here from all over”. I realize this isn’t like some of those insane calls for an aquarium, but it is sounding like one of those “hey, it’s only the price of a cup of coffee a day” sort of things. After a while, the difference of 32 cups and 35 cups a day breaks the bank.

  13. CAVE – I don’t know the economic impact of a skatepark, although, frankly, I’m skeptical it provides much bump to the local economy. Is it another amenity that me and my 3 kids and my friends and their kids will enjoy? Yes. Will it be a positive to town for potential new residents? Probably. Do we have a lot bloated public service payroll — both because we have too many employees and at the same time lousy contracts and managerial oversight, that allow for poor performance, lousy efficiency, ridiculous OT and “unused” sick and vacation pay payouts? Yes. Should we focus on that? Yes. Should we not focus on or be happy about a skatepark because of the other problems? No. Do I think we need a hospital? I would like a new hospital for the host of reasons I’ve stated on this blog before.

  14. There are several articles that touch on the economic benefits, as well as other benefits. “The Top 6 Benefits of Skate Parks” is at spohnranch.com, including comments from Mayors of cities that installed them. Not exactly a cost-benefit study, but giving some insight.

    There are many other similar articles if you Google “Economic Benefits of Skate Parks”, with similar positive comments about the economics. But the devil is in the details for us.

  15. So why don’t the shops on Park and in the WE near the restaurants stay open a little later , say until 9:00, a few nights a week? Maybe on Friday and Saturday. It seems to me this could be a win, win situation for the shops and the restaurants.

  16. @Publious, Thanks for reigning in my anger at the way this City is run. The skate park is a totally cool idea. Who didn’t like Dogtown and Z-Boys? My first boards were a GT Spoiler and a Bunger Fibre Flight. I really do hope the kids in town get an amazing park. Now back to the anger – but please, let’s not lose sight of the fact that unless residents demand accountability, better contracts, etc. this City is going to die of debt. Too many people, as far as the bigger picture of survivability is concerned, are dead from the neck up. This will be Far Rock or Asbury Park with tax increases. May 3rd was Tax Freedom Day In NY State, 3rd only behind NJ and CT. Long Beach School district is up to $36,426 per per pupil per year. When does it end?

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