PINOLE -- Proponents of a municipal skate park came away from Tuesday's City Council meeting with half a loaf -- an apparent commitment to make the project happen and a recommendation to restore a chunk of the funding but no final decision on a location, although likely somewhere in Pinole Valley Park.
About a dozen skateboarders, who are now high school-age, and several mothers have lobbied the council for as long as seven years to provide a legal venue for the sport. In 2009, the council allocated $344,000 to build a skate park between a soccer field and a baseball diamond in Pinole Valley Park, but a draft five-year capital improvement plan before the council two weeks ago proposed slashing the skate park's funding by more than two-thirds, from $344,000 to $112,000, and pushed back completion all the way to fiscal year 2015-16.
The proponents group cried foul, and the council shelved the matter for further review until Tuesday, when city staff came back with a revised draft that would allocate $213,439 to the skate park and move it up to the next fiscal year. The council agreed to the revisions after the proponents complained about the slashing of funds and the council's failure so far to honor its word to build the park.
"Keep your promise," said Julie Maier, one of the moms. "This is about trust.
"I urge you not to go backwards," Maier continued. "Do the right thing."
She urged the council to show leadership and integrity.
Moreover, it would not require removal of a basketball hoop at the original site, which already is crowded by multiple uses, including a tot lot, a pedestrian path and restrooms, in addition to the soccer and baseball fields.
The skate park group, headed by Pinole Valley High School senior Max Glanz, 17, and his mom, Sandee Glanz, is supposed to meet with engineers, skate park builders and the city to consult on the design of the park, while the city looks further into the feasibility of the new choice of location.
Max Glanz, interviewed outside the council chamber after Tuesday's discussion, said he looks forward to meeting with the engineers and designers. About the council action, he said, tentatively, "I think it's good news. I think they're committed. I think they're trying to find a place for it."
Sandee Glanz, in an email Wednesday, said she remains baffled that the council approved reducing the skate park funding from $344,000 to $213,439, even as it left open the possibility of some additional funding from an $84,000 set-aside fund. She also expressed concern about the suggested change of location, the possibility of additional red tape and "how long it will take for it to be approved or 'if' it even can be approved."
Contact Tom Lochner at 510-262-2760. Follow him at Twitter.com/tomlochner.