By Mayor Derek Reeve
Featured photo: Dozens of skateboarders throughout South County participate in the Spring 2019 Skate Jam at the San Juan Capistrano Community Center on Saturday, May 18. Photo: Shawn Raymundo
On April 5, 2022, the City Council took the historic action to move forward with the residents’ long-awaited City Skatepark and Trail Project. After one of the most heartwarming and inspiring City Council meetings I have ever been privileged to be a part of, the audience of all ages erupted in cheers when the City Council voted unanimously to approve the final design of the project, which includes a 20,000 square-foot, all-wheel skatepark, restroom, farm-themed play structure, shaded seating areas and a new multi-use trail connecting Via Positiva to Camino Del Avion. The skatepark would be located on less than one acre of the city-owned Kinoshita Farm property, adjacent to the City’s Sports Park complex and within walking distance of the Boys and Girls Club, two elementary schools and a middle school.
Shockingly, on May 2, the city was served with a lawsuit challenging the approval of the skatepark in Orange County Superior Court. The group responsible for the litigation is led by a former mayor from about 30 years ago, Carolyn Nash, and allegedly includes a number of as-yet-to-be identified failed city politicians.
Nash’s alleged objection to our skatepark and trails is it will somehow destroy our beloved adjacent farm. This is total nonsense. Even The Ecology Center, the local nonprofit that operates the organic farm in the heart of San Juan Capistrano, is supportive of the skatepark and worked collaboratively with the city to identify a suitable location for the project. In fact, The Ecology Center recognizes that integrating the farm and future skatepark would help expose local youth to the city’s agrarian heritage and create unique programming opportunities for the site.
For over 15 years, passionate San Juan Capistrano residents have fundraised, rallied support, participated in workshops and worked with the City Council and staff to make the skatepark a reality. These efforts have culminated in the design of a world-class facility for our community’s youth to enjoy. Unfortunately, the “eleventh hour” lawsuit will cause significant and costly delays, and may also jeopardize the city’s ability to utilize state grant funding previously awarded for the project, and even jeopardize the skatepark itself.
The City Council is committed to delivering the long-awaited skatepark to San Juan Capistrano’s youth and will not be deterred in our efforts by this misguided attempt to stop the project. Please make your voice heard and email Ms. Nash herself at firstname.lastname@example.org and cc the city at email@example.com to request she withdraw the lawsuit and allow the skatepark to move forward.
Derek Reeve is the current mayor of San Juan Capistrano.
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