New skate park opening delayed

The skatepark near the old Copley YMCA is moving forward again after construction delays caused by an underperforming contractor.

The skatepark near the old Copley YMCA is moving forward again after construction delays caused by an underperforming contractor.

A skatepark slotted for the old Copley YMCA property in City Heights hit a wall recently when the contractor was laid off, grinding construction to a halt. A new contractor has since been hired and work has begun to make up for lost time.

“Due to poor performance, the original contractor (APR) was removed from the project in June 2015 and the surety bond company was directed to secure a replacement contractor to complete the work,” according to a statement from City Councilwoman Marti Emerald’s office.

The new contractor, Hazard Construction, resumed construction Sept. 21, and the opening of the new park is now set for next summer.

The delay is the most recent glitch to impede construction of the new skatepark.

When a group of teenagers at the Mid-City Community Advocacy Network Youth Council first decided they wanted a skate park in City Heights, dozens of obstacles stood in the way. Not only were some people in the community opposed to a skatepark, advocates also had to overcome layers of bureaucratic tape and maneuver through the nuances of local politics. One thing kept them going: They knew it was a good idea.

“This area of the city lacks parks and recreation space for youth,” said Terry Stanley, Youth Council organizer at Mid-City CAN. “Our residential population in ratio to green space is deficient in City Heights compared to other communities, and we deserve a safe place like everyone else. That idea really kept us going.”

And they did keep going. The youths fought hard to gain official approval, managing to secure a grant to fund their project. The group was recognized for their work in April when the Mid-City CAN Youth Council was honored by the American Planning Association with a “Best Grassroots Initiative” award.

Despite the victory, the execution of their plans has been plagued by delays. The skatepark was originally supposed to be completed by November, but the deadline was extended to next summer as a result of the construction problems.

“It’s frustrating that we had to go through problems in the political process and now we’re also having problems through the physical process,” Stanley said. “It’s just one more challenge that we’ve overcome. We will see this skate park completed. Hopefully by next summer the skaters of City Heights will have a safe place to skate. It’s taking longer because it’s going to be even greater.”

The City of San Diego last year received $4.1 million from the state Department of Housing and Community Development to build two concrete skateboard parks within Park De La Cruz and the Linda Vista Community Park. The city also received $3.1 million to repair and renovate the old Copley Family YMCA, which will become the new Park De La Cruz Recreation Center.