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By Eric Heinz
City Hall was filled to the brim with people wanting to see an expansion of the Ralphs Skatepark off Avenida La Pata as well as have lights put in for nighttime skating.
The San Clemente Skatepark Coalition recently formed to convince the BP&R Commission to add the expansion of the skatepark to amendments of the current BP&R Master Plan. The process of amending the Master Plan began recently.
Danny Craig, a member of SCSC, said skateboarding has become just as popular as the major sports already established in San Clemente.
“Surfing is the heart and soul of San Clemente, no offense to the organized team sports,” Craig said. “With that comes skateboarding. It’s a hotbed for a growing number of extremely talented skateboarders. San Clemente has grown a lot since our current skatepark was established.”
Craig said the main reason the coalition wants to expand the park is because many of the younger skateboarders cannot find room in the crowded park, which often overflows with young people.
President of SCSC Stephanie Aguilar also spoke during the meeting. Aguilar has a 5-year-old son who she said has flourished because of skateboarding.
Others who spoke said nearby cities have already expanded their skateboarding opportunities, such as the new facility in Huntington Beach.
An empty lot exists next to the San Clemente skatepark that SCSC members said could be used to expand the existing park.
Throughout the process people will be able to submit comments to the BP&R department, and public meetings will be held to discuss possible changes or additions. SCSC members said they have been working with private sponsors and are looking for public funding to help with the costs, adding lights to the park could run between $100,000 and $200,000, and the expansion’s cost is yet to be determined. Members said they have received 1,000 signatures in support of skatepark expansion.