Plans are rolling along for a new skate park in Nipomo, but they’re missing one thing – money.
In a makeshift skate park built by skaters, scrap metal and slabs of concrete create skate ramps on the cracked concrete foundation that was once Nipomo’s burnt down recreation center.
“Just the community of brothers and skaters who come together and make it what it is,” said ‘Nacho’ Soto, a skateboarder who visits the makeshift park. “At the end of the day, it’s just a great place to be with your friends.”
The makeshift skate park is built on private property, which is also known to be a home for homeless encampments. Once the property is sold and developed, the park will be wiped out.
“It’s in an area of town where there’s no lights, no sidewalks, it’s very dark at night. To have 30 to 40 kids there on any given weekend, that’s a lot of kids to have in that dangerous atmosphere,” said Tom Slater, a teacher at Mesa Middle School who started a skateboarding club for students about five years ago.
About a block away, a memorial sits for Matthew Diaz, a 24-year-old who died after he was hit by a car while skating in January.
“If we don’t do anything about it, there’s no reason it won’t happen again,” Slater said.
Slater and his students helped pioneer the effort to build a safe skate park in Nipomo.
San Luis Obispo County Parks and Recreation has the design and they’re waiting on permits, but they don’t have the funding.
The county has about $600,000 set aside for a state of the art skate park next to the Nipomo Community Library on Tefft Street. They need to double that funding for an estimated $1 to $1.5 million project.
“A lot of that, we hope to get through grants. With grants, you’re much more competitive when we have matching funds, which we do. And you’re much more competitive when the community has donated and shown that interest, and they have,” said Nick Franco, Director of San Luis Obispo County Parks and Recreation.
For anyone who is interested in donating, you can donate directly to the San Luis Obispo County Parks and Recreation Department. It’s a tax-deductible donation.