By LUCY GUANUNA
ECHO PARK — Echo Park skaters will be happy to hear that a final design has been selected for an Echo Park Skate Park, and it’s more than twice the size originally envisioned. But it’s also more expensive than expected, leaving the city to find the necessary funds before construction can begin and skaters can start showing off on the rails and mini bowl planned for the park.
Skaters as well as residents got to voice their opinions and vote on three concepts for the skate park, which will be built where a now empty public swimming pool is located next to the 101 Freeway onramp at Echo Park and Bellevue avenues.
As part of the community outreach, the Local Volunteer Neighborhood Oversight Committee held three meetings to discuss the pros and cons of each design, which were prepared by HMC Architects and the skate park design firm, Site Design.
During the second community briefing, through an informal voting process, the designers were asked to combine two of the concepts into one design, according to information provided by the city. By the third meeting, the combined design was unanimously approved by the committee. This design has a small skating bowl in the middle of the skate park, and a “street style” skating design for the large area around the center bowl.
Initially there was a discussion about the best location for the skate park, and a number of issues were considered, with safety being the first priority. One concept to place the skate park next to the existing children’s play area on Bellevue raised safety and compatibility concerns. As a result, the skate park was moved on the other side of the brick recreation center where a shallow pool, long out of service, is now located To protect this area, the skate park will have guardrails and trees to shield it from the onramp to the Hollywood Freeway, and will also have a heavy gauge chain link fence around the space.
But the approved skate park concept measures 7,000-square-feet in size, more than double the 3,000-square-foot park envisioned as part of a $500,000 Prop K grant that would pay for the facility. That means the city will have to find more cash to pay for the larger skate park.
“The City is working to identify the required extra funding,” according to a summary by Richard Campbell with the city’s Bureau of Engineering. “Meanwhile, HMC and Site Design are proceeding with the final design, while the additional funds being sought. No construction will begin until such time as such funds are identified and allocated to the project.”
Assuming funds are found, the skate park will take about a year to build.
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