Saturday, October 22, 2016

Former Echo Park swimming pool to be turned into a skate park

A skate park is planned for the site of a former Echo Park pool

A skate park is planned for the site of a former Echo Park swimming pool


ECHO PARK — Skateboarders can’t resist turning an empty backyard swimming pool into a skate park. Now, the city wants to do the same with a closed municipal pool.

The Department of Recreation and Parks and Council District 13 are planning to put a skate park park on the site of an outdated, unsafe and unused swimming pool wedged between a 101 Freeway onramp and the Echo Park Recreation Center across from the Echo Park Lake, according to the Bureau of Engineering.

The first of three public meetings for a proposed Echo Park skate park are scheduled for early October at the recreation center.

Approximately $500,000 will be spent on the project, including the design. The skate park will be designed by HMC Architects, and the skate surface will be designed by HMC’s sub-consultant, Site Design Group, said Richard Campbell, Bureau of Engineering project manager.

Echo Park’s skate park will funded through Proposition K, which generates $25 million a year for park and recreation facilities and improvements.

“There was a lot of interest among locals for a skate park, and that’s why Recreation and Parks identified it as a Prop K [competitive grant] project,” said Campbell.

13th District Councilman Mitch O’ Farrell helped secure most of the necessary funds when he worked for his predecessor and now mayor Eric Garcetti.

“For years I heard from Echo Park residents about the need for a skate park in the community,” Councilmember O’Farrell said Tuesday. “While working for my predecessor, I was able to secure $350,000 from Proposition K funds. Shortly after taking office I met with Recreation and Parks to kick start the effort. I am committed to making this park enhancement a reality, and I’m excited that we have initial funding in place for Recreation and Parks to move forward with a design.”

The seven-member Local Volunteer Neighborhood Oversight Committee (LVNOC) holds its first meeting Thursday, Oct. 8 at 6 p.m. in the conference room of the main building at the recreation center.

Campbell says the first meeting will be to generate ideas, and by the second LVNOC meeting there should be some skate park renderings ready and by the last meeting the drawings should be finalized. However, the project would still need secure final city approval before contractors would be able to bid on the park.

Matt Sanderson is a journalist, photographer and digital media producer. A native of Rhode Island, he received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of New Hampshire and moved to Los Angeles in 2012 with Patch.com/AOL

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  1. Ah the old piss pond. Loved swimming there as a youngen.

  2. Very cool.

  3. Might as well use it for something. It has been sitting there empty for years.

  4. I love reading positive news on the Eastsider! This is fantastic news!!!!

  5. I thought that the whole reason it was closed (despite being very popular) was that it was considered too close to the freeway and the heath of young people was threatened by the pollution from the traffic. How will this be different?

    • Echo Park in general is too close to the freeway same with Silverlake and the rest of northeast LA. Cleaner air is by the beach. Might as well give the kids a skatepark if you can’t give them clean air.

    • Totally agree with the concern expressed here about air quality and drawing children to an attraction that’s is literally 20 feet from the freeway. Children’s lungs are at the most critical stage of development for lung capacity during junior high, an age group very likely to use this skate park.

      I’m 100% for a skate park in echo park, but please rethink this. There is a dramatic drop off in airborne particulate at just 300 ft from a freeway. After 500 ft it’s mostly unnoticeable from the regular ambient air quality.

      Yes to a skate park– No to it’s placement within 500 ft of the busiest freeway in the USA.

      Anyone looking for more information and maps on freeway particulate and it’s affect on kids’ lungs, please google the metro link health impact assessment for Taylor yards. All the data you could ever want lies within that document.

      • Jennifer, Thank you for sharing the statistics. This skate park will definitely be harming children, not helping them.

        • Overly concerned, and overly idealistic helicopter parents who try to discourage community progress that is incremental – likely due to an overly privileged upbringing with no concept of anything in life ever being less than perfect – will defiantly be harming children, not helping them.

      • Unfortunately that ship sailed long ago, when the govt. decided to shoehorn freeways right through the middle of established neighborhoods. There’s already a children’s playground and some basketball courts right next to this… they should just plant some trees to try and absorb some of the exhaust.

        The bigger safety issue here is the highway street design that encourages speeding on all the streets surrounding the park.

    • 35-year Echo Park resident

      I remember that, at the time the pool was closed, the community was told it was because the air quality was incompatible with children playing in a pool so close to the freeway fumes. Since the freeway is still there I am surprised that the area would now be considered safe for children. What has changed to make it acceptable?

      • Actually, the laws have become stricter, even in Los Angeles. According to the LA Times new buildings are subject to additional layers of environmental review if a project is within 500 ft of a freeway.
        The State of CA forbids building a new school within 500 ft of a fwy (of course charters don’t count and do this regularly).
        The DaVinci is required to have extra particle filters to protect it’s residents (which Palmer ignored until his shortcuts were outed by the Times)…
        “Studies produced over the last decade have linked freeway-adjacent living to respiratory problems, particularly in children and older adults. The health risk, said McConnell, becomes “really big” within 250 feet of a freeway.”


        So, if it’s a building, there’s a bunch of rules attempting to mitigate the horrible air quality next to a fwy for residents. But, if it’s a park for children, we bury our heads in the sand and say “hey, you only live once?! “. Asthma is a life-long, debilitating affliction. Public funds should not be used to build a project that science has shown will contribute toward harming the health of the kids who use it. Other parks in the freeway area were here before the freeway and before we knew better. This is common sense– don’t do it.

  6. I’m all for a skate park, but I can imagine all these kids huffin’ and puffin’ exhaust from the 101 freeway does not sound good at all.

    • They already get plenty of fumes from smoking dope all day. A little diesel dust is a drop in the bucket.
      (I’m kidding. Parks and schools should not be next to freeways)

  7. Echo Park pool is too small. They need to tear down the recreation center and expand the area in order to make the skatepark a decent size. Highland Park or whatever you call that area, Arroyo Seco has a large skatepark. This is way too small. What a a waste of money and all of the poor kids that currently live in the area will eventually be forced to move out of the area because of Gentrification.

    • Agree, they will definitely have to tear down the rec building in order to have a decent amount of space. Highland Park/Garvanza is a relatively small park with a great bowl (unfortunately has been made practically unskateable from all the layers of slippery, gobby paint/graf and zero maintenance over the years). Lots of wasted concrete in the middle section of the park that could have had more ledges, rails for the ‘street’ crowd.

      Glendale is a another great park, it’s not really designed for beginners though, great for those who skate tranny not so much for the ledge, stairs and rail crowd. It also has a lot of crazy cross traffic when crowded,

      Skateparks can be small yet still well designed, fun and challenging for all levels of skaters. North San Diego has been flourishing with amazing new skateparks that are world class. Even the small town of Ojai has an amazing skate park that would fit into the space where the new skatepark is planned. Good on Echo Park!

  8. Not a good idea. This will be unsafe for kids to cross the street to get to the skate park due to freeway entrance and exit. Cars are always speeding through red lights and almost hitting pedestrians. Unsafe intersections.

    • Yup… but there’s plenty of ways to fix that problem (better crosswalks and lighting, sidewalk extensions with tighter street corner radii, syncing traffic signals for average speeds and community circulation instead of top speeds and long distance commuters, etc.)

  9. Instead of creating useless skate parks we should be addressing the housing shortage. This would be a perfect spot for a 20+ storey highrise.

    • You must not live in Echo Park or you are not a very clever troll. Anyway, building a 20+ story highrise would cause the little park to close and the building next to it. Not only will that happen, but we would experience heavier traffic in that area.

  10. They should build a freeway barrier/sound walll along that stretch of the 101 before they do something like this. They’ve been known to reduce pollution in addition to noise.

  11. My son and I visit many skateparks around town, looking for one that satisfies all levels of skaters. My fear is that either they’ll draft a park where only sophisticated riders can go (teens usually) and although they are super friendly and helpful (i.e. Marsh park) there’s just not enough different level bowls. Following the format of glendale’s version park or the valleys at pedlow would be great. The traffic,toxins and under the freeway homeless are also not particularly a welcoming environment.

  12. I took swimmmg lessons there during summer, when it was safe to play outside. Glad to hear they will continue to use the space for kids. We need to support outdoor activities where kids could play and enjoy being outdoors. Hopefully the skatepark will be structured for all ages. I have taken my son to many skateparks, even finding some on vacation. Small or large, kids will enjoy, and I am sure there will be safety studies conducted. Think of the positives!

  13. I’m very happy to hear this is finally going public. first heard about this years ago. finally!! As a skater an member of District 13 & also being raised on section 8 here in Los Angeles I notice that with out skating it’s hard for KIDS to get out there. This is what it’s really for, the KIDS. Let’s not forget.
    Now as a young business man I understand the mistakes that can come from building a skatepark. There’s a lot involved an a lot of people who want to be involved. An as the owner of KRUSIN SKATE SHOP which is actually right across the Beautifull ECHO PARK lake, I belive that In building a skate park the right builders MUST be involved. Having the wrong company which has no experience building skate parks can be the only dangerous thing. Thanks to the skate park association an various park builders we have safe parks all over California. I personally will be attending the meetings in hopes that this is done the right way & for the youth of echo park because they are the future of it an should be the only ones benefiting from this. Oh an about the car pollution. Stop driving, Skate.

  14. Skateparks are the single most used per square foot public park areas, bar none. Compare to a baseball diamond—empty almost all the time—golf course, or a tennis court. Cities are finally succumbing to reason and giving kids parks at which to play, but still, skateparks are often located in the most awful pollution zones. See: Hollenbeck right along the 5 in East LA, Marsh Skatepark at the intersection of the 2 and the 5, etc. But, hey, Seattle built their first public skatepark over a toxic waste site, so it could be worse…

  15. Best idea I’ve heard in a while. The sooner kids or anyone else learns that life is full of falls that hurt and you better get up again and again cause if you do you’ll be rewarded. Skateboarding is an incredible discipline, it should be embraced by everyone and respected. Have you ever seen an out of shape skateboarder? I can’t believe anyone could be against this. The pollution sucks but it sucks everywhere anyway. Look people bottom line; We’re all gonna fuckin die some day. Let people live a little. Let your kids get a few bruises and scars on his legs. I’m 35 and proud of mine. I like that my body has been through some shit! I suck at skateboarding but I still do it all the time and sometimes I wipe out and it hurts! I cruise down EP Ave every Saturday morning, and there’s some risk to it cause I can’t really fucking stop if I have to! But what the fuck, who cares. I’m only endangering myself and getting hurt is kinda fun anyway. I dunno, God bless every skateboarder fuck everyone else.

    • hahaha be careful dingus!!!

      • elysian park is giant an empty!

        why not put the best and biggest skate park in los angeles there

        verdugo is a good model in glendale but it could be much more expansive with all the space

        even a kids only spot would be nice like a little dog park for little skaters

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