The city began preliminary steps to construct a skatepark at Trancas Canyon Road dedicated to the memory of Johnny Strange, a Malibu extreme athlete who died around this time last year.
Mayor Pro Tem Skylar Peak asked city staff to create agenda items that would allow the creation of a Blue Ribbon committee dedicated to the skate park and for a fundraising program to be created for the facility.
In early August of this year, the City of Malibu approved the purchase of a 35-acre tract of land at Trancas Canyon Road for an estimated $11 million. No official uses were discussed for the property when it was purchased, although council’s comments at the time made it clear they were interested in a recreational use for the property.
The Strange skate park was jointly suggested about a month later by Peak and Strange’s father, Brian, who pledged $1 million in matching funds if the city were to build the facility.
“Thinking about how to honor his legacy, we felt that having a place outdoors for kids in a safe environment — always being moving and active would honor his life,” Brian Strange said.
The Malibu local known for his enthusiasm for extreme sports, Johnny Strange died Oct. 1, 2015 while BASE jumping in the Swiss Alps.
Peak’s suggestion for a skate park is just that — a suggestion. The Trancas property will go through the Parks and Recreation Commission, where community members will be able to express their own thoughts for what should happen to the Trancas property.
Even though the council took considerable steps pursuing the Strange skate park, they did not seem concerned that placing so much emphasis on a potential skate park may deter alternative ideas from surfacing.
“I don’t see the Malibu community being timid about anything,” Council Member Joan House said.
House said in the meeting she received numerous emails from residents with their own ideas for what should be done at Trancas. Council Member Rosenthal echoed similar comments, with residents suggesting a satellite library or senior center as the potential use for the property.
If the Strange skate park were to move forward, it would be the second skate park built in the city.
Malibu Bluffs Park is due for a one-and-a-half-acre skate park, but the exact timeline of when that project will be complete is undetermined.
Time is a motivating factor for Brian Strange, who asked the facility be built “within a reasonable time period.” The already-planned skate park at Bluffs Park won’t necessarily be completed anytime soon.
“We don’t have an approved timeline. There’s still a lot of back and forth changes that need to be done,” Peak said.
A quick turnaround for Trancas might not be realistic.
“In a perfect world, we’d do all of this in a year,” Parks and Recreation Commissioner Carl Randall said. “I found with Bluffs Park, we’ve been at it for two years trying to get public input. In the past two [to] three months, our staff has been trying to find common ground. It takes a little bit to get to an agreement.”
Even if everything goes smoothly, House brought up the city’s lack of precedence for naming properties after citizens. House elaborated that other cities that haven’t outlined naming policies have faced issues, including individuals selling naming rights against a city’s will or donations intended for a city property going to family heirs instead of the intended purpose.
No decisive action was taken on the potential skate park during the city council meeting — including how to pay for it.