Council opens arms to city hall skatepark

By Peter Dugré
Skateboarders were given hope on Dec. 15 that Carpinteria will some day be a city in which they have a designated park to skate. At a special workshop to discuss the feasibility of adding a skatepark to Carpinteria’s parks and rec offerings, the council was so warm to the idea of building a skatepark, that it directed city staff to devise a plan to put one next to city hall in the 30,000-square-foot area now occupied by defunct Thunderbowl roller rink. In its vote to explore building a park, the council added the condition that the Carpinteria Skate Foundation, the driving force behind building a park, partner with the city to help fund and maintain the park.

“I’m in favor of a skatepark, and I can’t wait to see this built,” commented Mayor Gregg Carty before the unanimous 4-0 vote; Councilmember Brad Stein was absent due to a conflict of interest. In a feasibility study on building a local skatepark, the city had analyzed potential sites near the Amtrak platform, but residential neighbors had voiced concerns over noise and possible crime from skateboarders, which could have stalled planning. “The number one site as far as getting it done and getting a park built would be city hall,” Carty said.

In presenting the city’s findings from the feasibility study, Parks & Recreation Director Matt Roberts downplayed concerns about injury liability and increased crime at skateboard parks. His findings were that team sports commonly played at other city parks had more incidences of injury than skateboarding and that crime occurs at all parks and not necessarily at a higher rate if the park is used for skateboarding.

Three of the dozens of speakers were against building a park. Kika Hutchings, a retired educator, said she had watched children at recess throughout her career and found that they always broke the rules, so the city’s ordinance stating skateboarders need to wear helmets and pads—an ordinance put in place ahead of construction of a temporary skatepark in 2000—would not work. “Who’s going to pay for it when kids get injured? I hope it’s not the taxpayer,” Hutchings asked.

Supporters of a local skatepark, most wearing Carpinteria Skate Foundation T-shirts, packed the room. Also, organizers involved in both the Santa Barbara and Ojai skateparks urged the city to move forward with a park.

In favor of building a place for the alternative sport, local resident and Skateboard Hall of Fame inductee Peggy Oki told the council, “I say different strokes for different folks. Kids and adults need different ways to express themselves.” She also said much smaller cities like Moab, Utah, population 5,000, had built parks.

Local parent Ben Pitterlee said the community needs to make older youth feel welcome and not marginalized. “As a community, it’s important to build a place for older youth where they want to be, where we know they are and where they’ll be safe,” he said.

The Carpinteria Skate Foundation had originally focused its efforts on what it envisioned as a community skategarden at the 5th Street property adjacent to the Amtrak platform but could not convince property neighbors that a skatepark would not be a nuisance. The city has acquired a $350,000 grant to build a community garden at the city-owned site, and Roberts suggested that the timeline of building a skatepark into the garden project could jeopardize that grant by delaying construction. The grant expires in 20 months. “There’s a timeline fuse burning on getting the community garden built,” Roberts said.

City council members used Tomol Park and the Carpinteria Bluffs as models for public-private partnerships for getting the skatepark constructed. In its motion, the council directed staff to design a partnership with Carpinteria Skate Foundation to help fund construction and maintenance of the park. Recently Carpinteria Rotary Club spearheaded the Tomol Interpretive Play Area, fundraised to see the project through and is forming an endowment fund for park maintenance.

The City Hall location was also seen as advantageous for the availability of utilities and potential to also be a venue for special events. Roberts said that an amphitheater element could be built as a functional skate obstacle and stage. The Carpinteria Skate Foundation had provided conceptual plans for a 5th Street skategarden but designs for what might be at City Hall are yet to be seen, and any progress toward groundbreaking must be permitted through traditional city processes.

Some adjustment to the longterm plan for the City Hall property will need to happen in order to build the skatepark there. The area had been slated for a potential Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center, but Roberts was optimistic that both a skatepark and EOC can be accommodated.

Storms bring welcome rainfall

Storms bring welcome rainfall
Pat Moses pulled out her camera on Rincon Mountain when she noticed this rainbow leading to a pot of gold somewhere within the stormy surf at Rincon Point on the morning of Dec. 12.

The succession of storms that swept through Carpinteria over the last week delivered 2.12 inches of rainfall to the parched city. Combined with other storms since Sept. 1, Carpinteria has received 4.38 inches of rain this water year, 107 percent of average for this point in the year. Other parts of Santa Barbara County have received substantially more. Santa Maria’s total for the water year is 5.78 inches, nearly twice the average for this time of year. Lake Cachuma is 28.6 percent full, a few percentage points up from its driest level this fall. The most recent predictions from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are for a wetter than average winter in Southern California.

Caltrans to close onramp briefly

Caltrans recently informed the City of Carpinteria that emergency work on a freeway drainage culvert would temporarily close a short section of Via Real as well as the Via Real/Vallecito Street northbound Highway 101 onramp. Plans are to close the roadways during non-peak hours from Wednesday, Dec. 17 through Friday, Dec. 19. Drivers will be detoured northbound on Casitas Pass to Foothill Road and then down Linden Avenue to the High way 101 northbound onramp.

City paves way to improved roads

Despite recent storms, the City of Carpinteria announced this week that good progress has been made on the project to repave downtown sections of Carpinteria Avenue and Casitas Pass Road. Completed tasks are the lowering of manhole lids to prepare for grinding and paving, grinding the entire width of Carpinteria Avenue and Casitas Pass Road and removal and replacement of all sections of poor pavement. Work over the next several days will include placement of a new leveling course of pavement over the grinded road, placement of the top pavement layer which will be the new roadway surface, raising of manholes to the level of the new pavement and restriping of road.

With the exception of brief temporary closures, the work will allow all driveways and business entrances to remain open during construction. Because the placement of new pavement requires dry conditions, rain may interfere with continuous work. Construction will not take place during peak traffic hours, but may take place at night to move the project forward as quickly as possible. Anyone with questions can contact Public Works at 684-5405 x441.

Talented Rams ready for TVL

Talented Rams ready for TVL
Cate soccer player Geoffrey Acheampong will continue to mystify defenders with dazzling footwork in his senior season. (Photo by Bill Swing)

By Peter Dugré
Cate School boys soccer enjoyed a run of success at the top of Condor League, a grouping of small private schools, but a CIF re-leaguing has landed the talented squad in the stronger Tri-Valley League, the same grouping as Carpinteria High School, starting this season. The team returns ball-handling wizard Geoffrey Acheampong who is a breakaway threat each time the ball touches his feet. Coach Peter Mack called the squad deep and said the team looks forward to the transition to TVL: “We're used to playing high caliber teams outside our league. Now, we face high caliber teams within the league,” he stated.

In addition to Acheampong, the team returns seniors Iman Fardghassemi, Djata Nyaawie, Patty Thomas and Danny Rodriguez. Mack commented that this team particularly “can be explosive offensively,” and has potent weapons.

Junior Joel Serugo will shift to the center back position this season, placing the responsibility of directing the defense on the athletic talent. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised by what they see from (Serugo),” Mack stated. “He’s a real talent back there, and he’s found a new gear this year.” Serugo will be the last line of defense in front of junior goalkeeper Keller Mochel, who has already proven a valuable asset in wins over San Marcos High School and St. Bonaventure High School.

Sophomores Ryan Borchardt and Christian Herman also played varsity last year and have already stepped up their games. Herman has two goals so far and Ryan has been a menace in holding his midfield spot.

In addition to Cate’s leap from Condor to TVL, the team now joins CIF SS Division 4 for playoff bracketing. Cate’s two recent CIF championships in 2011 and 2012 came in Division 7. Now the team will compete against larger schools. Where Cate enrolls a total of 135 boys, some of the Division 4 competition sees that number of students try out for the soccer team. “The margin for error for us has narrowed severely. But my guys love the challenge before them,” Mack said.

The stiffer challenges for the team means that it can’t afford to take a day off, and to meet the more demanding schedule, players will have to up their fitness level, an area the Rams have always prided themselves on, according to Mack. “We also have a number of new guys at the varsity level, and they are adjusting to the more physical style of play and the pace of play. This is a learning process, but we're getting it.”

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Joy to the World

Joy to the World

Cate School vocalists provided the musical entertainment for Holidays on The Lane on Dec. 13. Santa made his way down Santa Claus Lane, where shopkeeps banded together to offer treats and discounts to merrymakers.

Carpinteria parades for the Holidays

Linden Avenue has never seen so much parade love. Over 500 people in 41 entries made their way down the street on Dec. 13 in the 2014 Holiday Spirit Parade. Typically, a blink-and-you-miss-it kind of affair, this year’s parade was chock full of new floats and faces. And, as luck would have it, the sun smiled down on it, emerging over the weekend for a brief window between rainstorms.

A new element to the parade was a window display contest. The 900 block of Linden Avenue got into the festivities and winners were announced in four categories: Homestead for “Best overall,” Whimsy for “Throw back to 1965,” Magpie for “Carpinteria spirit” and Seastrand for “Holiday tradition. (Photos by Robin Karlsson)

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"The Coastal View Blues"

"The Coastal View Blues"

by the Man on the Street, Larry Nimmer.

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