Skatepark: Citations being given for not wearing safety equipment

September 15, 2004
Santa Paula City Council

The new skatepark was the focus of discussion at the Sept. 7 City Council meeting.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesThe new skatepark was the focus of discussion at the Sept. 7 City Council meeting.“One of the finest parks in the county opened up,” on Aug. 7 and has been drawing “tons of kids,” said Community Services Director Brian Yanez.Youth using the park have been patient during construction by not jumping or trying to breach the temporary fence, he noted, but there is lingering concern that not all park users are wearing safety gear.“We really need youth and kids to abide by the rules, use helmets and knee and elbow pads or we might close the facility,” in spurts to help bring the point home, said Yanez.Although a majority of skaters are abiding by the rules those who aren’t are receiving warnings from Santa Paula Police.“We want them to have a good time and enjoy themselves and at the same time be safe,” said Yanez. “Hopefully, skaters will spread the word,” on wearing safety equipment.Councilman John Procter asked what could be the noncompliance closure schedule.“Several days,” is possible, said Yanez. “Use the proper gear use the park and enjoy your time,” will be the message.“It’s the best skatepark in the county but if one child is brain-damaged they have to live with that the rest of their lives,” said Councilman Rick Cook. “A broken arm or a leg heals,” but more serious injury is more likely without a helmet.“I’ve received more calls and complaints about this than any other issue,” including that bikes are being used in the skatepark, among others, Cook added. “Nip it in the bud, hold the rules or change the rules.”
SPAS (Santa Paula Association of Skaters) should take a leadership role in the issue and “ask youngsters around town to step forth and develop a set of rules they can live with,” said Mayor Gabino Aguirre.Public Works Director/City Engineer Cliff Finley said that more signage would be posted in English and Spanish about park usage rules and that trash cans would be located outside the immediate skatepark area.The council received commemorative brochures from the park’s opening as well as skateboard key chains from Marisue Eastlake, a SPAS co-founder.Eastlake noted that proposed skatepark rules had been included in the park’s design package with the suggested that same be placed on the fence.“Once we do that we’ll see more helmet wearing,” Eastlake said. “I agree with Councilman Cook, it’s not a bike park,” and bicyclists can ruin the park’s concrete.Families are gathering inside the park area to picnic and watch the skaters and an area outside the skating area must be created for observers.Skaters have “made a lot of progress in how the park should be used,” including waiting for their ride time, she added.Those not wearing helmets have been cited for a $100 fine for not wearing helmets, said Eastlake and SPAS has been rewarding safety conscious riders.“There is an element of parental responsibility as well,” akin to parents making their children buckle up seat belts. “We need to educate the adults,” that safety equipment is required for park use and a skater school must be explored.Sometime in the future a Web cam could be placed at the park to allow skaters and their parents to see what is going on at the park, added Eastlake.

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