Council Urged to Get Involved in Skate Park Closure and Relocation
• City Was Given 90 Days Notice of Termination of Use of Property Earmarked for Development
BY BILL KOENEKER
Several mothers and their sons came to Malibu City Council chambers last week to ask the council to focus on the pending closure of Papa Jack's Skate Park.
During the holidays, Steve Soboroff, who heads the proposed "Whole Foods in the Park," shopping center in the Civic Center, where the skate park is located, announced a 90-day termination of the agreement under which the skate park is operated by the municipality.
"I think it is time to start thinking about this," said Regan Schaar, a former planning commissioner for the city and the mother of well-known skateboarder Tom Schaar.
She reminded council members how important she thought the skateboard park is especially for teens. "We don't offer a lot for the teenagers." she said.
Schaar said it appeared that the city would need to secure a piece of land and that would cost money. "We need an effort at the city council level," she said.
Another mom and her son talked about how important it is for the city to act now to prepare for creating another skate park.
"With Papa Jack's closed the shopping centers will become the skate park," Schaar quipped.
Councilmember Laura Rosenthal said she completely agreed with the speakers. "I want to transition to a new park. I don't know why the parks and recreation commission can't handle it," she added.
However, Councilmember Pamela Conley Ulich said there was a need to act quickly and she felt a council subcommittee would be the best way to expedite matters. "We need to give our kids a place to skate. I hope Steve [Soboroff] will give us more time. We need something in writing. All we have now in writing is a termination notice," she said.
The council agreed and directed the staff to bring back an agenda item to form a skate park committee.
When the announcement was made by Soboroff, he told the Malibu Surfside News that he was willing to extend the skateboard park's operations for possibly another year if the city council asked.
He said he was willing to lend his expertise and money, $25,000, to help the city relocate the park. Soboroff, an advocate of public recreation, is a former commissioner of the parks and recreation department for the city of Los Angeles.
The shopping center proposal is at the start of the Environmental Impact Report review, which takes about nine months to a year before there are any permit hearings.
Soboroff said he did not want any challenges at that time. He estimates Whole Foods should be operating by 2014.
The proposal consists of about 38,425 square feet of commercial space in five buildings, including a 25,540-square-foot Whole Foods Market building, and 13,878 square feet of additional retail space in four separate detached buildings.