By Collin Breaux | Email: cbreaux@picketfencemedia.com | Twitter: @collin_breaux

During a city council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 5, members of the community voiced support for a San Juan Capistrano skateboard park finally being built.

City officials also support the skateboard park becoming a reality. A concept design was previously presented to and approved by the council, and funding is needed. A subcommittee is looking at the skateboard park, and there have been preliminary conversations with the City of Dana Point about a potential partnership, since an identified site around the San Juan Capistrano sports park borders the neighboring city.

Former Mayor Kerry Ferguson said supporters gathered more than 10,000 signatures in support of the skateboard park, with “well over” 5,000 signatures from San Juan Capistrano residents and others from Dana Point.

“One of the things that I was very glad to champion when I was on council was a skate park for our youth. I felt this was something that could serve a lot of people in a lot of ways,” Ferguson said. “I hope this is something that will finally come through, because there are generations now of residents that are hoping there will be one for their grandkids. We are getting closer, I believe.”

Resident Cody Martin also spoke about wanting a skateboard park and said the town is in “desperate need” of one.

“There really is a huge support in this city to get a skateboard park built,” Martin said. “Our city council is doing a great job so far. We’ve had tremendous success, whether it be approving River Street or my personal favorite, getting Chick-fil-A done. Let’s continue that success and build a skateboard park.”

Todd Rodarmel, pastor at Mountain View Church, said he also advocates for a skateboard park since it would help businesses, schools and other locations since the park would keep kids busy and give them an outlet for skateboarding.

“My youngest (son) is a skater,” Rodarmel said. “It takes quite a lot of athleticism to do what they do. It’s not just a place for kids to hang out and be delinquent. It actually keeps them out of skating on the lunch tables at all the schools and everywhere else, because it gives them a place to do it.”

City Manager Ben Siegel said more information is expected to be available in early 2020.

“We need to identify a funding source,” Siegel said. “We have some potential ideas.”

Derek Reeve, a councilmember who sits on the subcommittee, said the skateboard park is the “No. 1 priority” of the council in the parks and rec category.

“There is a commitment to build a skate park sooner than later,” Reeve said.

In the meantime, the San Juan Capistrano Skate Park Coalition will host its fourth Skate Jam on Saturday, Nov. 23, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the San Juan Capistrano Community Center, 25925 Camino del Avion. There will be skating (safety gear including a helmet and elbow and knee pads is required), local youth bands, door prize giveaways and vendor booths.

In other council meeting news, the council approved a resolution authorizing submitting a grant application to the California Department of Housing and Community Development for funding under the State Senate Bill 2 Planning Grants Program.

The grant application would be for a total of $160,000 to assist the city in the preparation of plans and studies that would streamline housing approvals and accelerate a housing report, according to an agenda report.

Another resolution the council voted in favor of was approving the submittal of the State Route 74 Lower Ortega Highway Widening Improvement Project to the Orange County Transportation Authority for grant funding. The grant application would cover funding of design costs and accelerate the design effort by at least one year or possibly more, an agenda report said.

“Currently, there is insufficient funding for design of the Caltrans Lower Ortega Highway Widening Project,” the agenda report said. “Caltrans is the lead agency for the Lower Ortega Highway Widening Project. Caltrans is finalizing the environmental documentation for the project and will be in a position to begin design as soon as funding becomes available, which is presently scheduled to be four years from now.”

There have been actions by the council on the project since 2005, including letters to county and Caltrans officials in 2017. Newest Wall of Recognition Honorees Raymond Miller, Marianne Taylor and Jim Taylor were also approved for their contributions to the area. Marianne Taylor has been active with the Los Rios Park Garden Angels, among other activities; Miller has worked with the San Juan Capistrano American Legion Post 721, along with other organizations; and Jim Taylor is the president of the San Juan Capistrano Fiesta Association

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