Skateboard park plans hit the skids


The domino effect of discovering something quite unexpected under the asphalt behind City Hall a few weeks ago has stopped completion of a skateboard park, started an EPA investigation and caused a commotion between city and county officials.

Plans to put a community skateboarding park on county-owned land behind City Hall were doused by contamination.

Skateboard enthusiasts and park officials in Malibu are back at the drawing board with a few new sites in mind for the new recreation park. “We’re working on trying to get it where the old tow yard used to be, near the GTE building on Cross Creek Road,” said Blake Mills, one of the skateboarding youngsters working with park officials on the project.

As workers broke through the ground recently to put a natural gas tank underground for filling up official vehicles and prepare the land for paving the planned park, two things happened, according to John Mills. Mills, parent of Blake and a force behind the planned park, said gas leakage into the soil from a previous regular gas underground tank prompted the EPA to come in and examine the situation for cleanup.

Further, Mills said it brought to the surface some mixed signals among L.A. County and Malibu city officials on the approval to dig up the ground in the first place. “What’s compounded this is that the county is claiming that the city now has to pay for the repair, and the city’s saying ‘Why? It’s the county’s property.'” Mills said, “Evidently there’s some other department at the county saying they didn’t have a written lease and should never have dug up the thing.” Mills went on to say, “The bureaucracy is going to grind it out to such an extended period of time that the kids aren’t going to get their skateboard park this fiscal year during which the money was promised.”

The park, with an approved budget of $20,000 donated by the city, was scheduled for completion by the first of the year.

Neither Mills nor his son seem to be discouraged by the new delay. In fact, as a parent, Mills feels the entire process has been a very good experience for his son and other children involved in the planning process. “I think the kids are getting to see maybe what homeowners go through in how long it takes to do something that you think you can do right away.”

At this point Mills said the skateboard park planners are continuing to look elsewhere and consider various bids on the project. The EPA is reportedly perusing methods of cleanup. The city and county officials apparently have a new problem to look at. And, the skateboard enthusiasts may be learning something about patience.