Local teens and their parents have spearheaded public advocacy for the Malibu skate park project, regularly attending city council meetings to get both the temporary and permanent skate parks—which are moving along concurrently—approved. On Feb. 3, the Malibu Planning Commission voted, 5-0, to approve the temporary skate park design, moving the project forward. The design was finalized during a Jan. 22 community meeting with American Ramp Company at City Hall.
To be located at the west end of the recreational lot in Malibu Bluffs Park, the 12,320-square-foot park will be entirely above ground and will feature a mini bowl, ramps and “funbox.” The area designated for the temporary park will be paved with asphalt. Other materials to be used for the construction include wood, concrete and SkateLite, a paper composite material used for ramp surfaces.
Staff report information suggested the development would be paid for out of funds set aside for “park improvements.”
“[The parcel] has been dedicated to the city per the terms of project approval together with a voluntary $1 million developer donation for park improvements,” the staff report for the Feb. 3 meeting said. “The park improvements were not fully designed at the time and were not a part of the approved project entitlements. However, active recreation, passive recreation and an expanded parking lot were all identified as possible uses.”
“These kids, skaters, and their parents have come to all meetings and have been very enthusiastic about it,” Malibu Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Judy Villablanca said during public comment.
Local skater Finn Murphy said he was very happy to have had the temporary skate park project approved by city council, and hoped there would be no further delays in the process. Murphy said the nearest skateparks to Malibu—Westlake Village and the Cove in Santa Monica—were good, but not “world-class.”
“Our parents have to drive one hour to get to a great park in Venice,” Murphy said, adding that there were high parking costs associated with the Venice skate park.
He described the advantages that a skate park would bring to the city of Malibu, including a more positive and fun community for kids and parents alike, who would no longer need to make the long drives to outside parks like Venice.
“The skate park opening would also bring in a lot of pros, if we did it right,” Murphy said. “Having professional athletes in Malibu inspires us.”
Murphy said he and many other Malibu kids dream of going to the Olympics, since skateboarding is now an Olympic sport, and closed his speech by asking the planning commission to help them make those dreams a reality.
Developers Robert Gold and Scott Gillen raised concerns about noise caused by the skate park, since it would be near future homes on the Crummer Property—now known as the Case Project—that are currently under construction.
“We don’t want to make a bunch of noise; we just want to go skateboarding,” Malibu resident and skater Hamish Patterson said.
According to Patterson, Malibu kids have nowhere safe to skate at the moment, which results in them skating in parking lots. He urged the planning commission to move the project forward, emphasizing that it was a safety issue for the kids.
Skater Layla Polito said this process has shown the kids that they are not too young to advocate for what they want, and that if the project were delayed or blocked, it would be “heartbreaking.”
“The 20 or so kids you see at all these meetings are just a small representation of the army of kids who are excited about the skate park,” Polito said. “I can’t imagine that there are people who wouldn’t want to grant this to the kids, but if there are, I urge you to not stomp on our dreams.”
The temporary skate park will include a designated drop off and pick up area with road striping, a central planter, walking lanes, 40 unpaved parking spaces and additional ADA parking spaces. There will also be a crosswalk near the southwest corner of the lot, on Winter Mesa Drive.
The park will be open seven days a week, from 8 a.m. until sunset.