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Skatepark faces possible shutdown

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Skatepark faces possible shutdown

PHOTO BY MARISOL MARTINEZ GARCIA/THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY MARISOL MARTINEZ GARCIA/THE PIONEER

PHOTO BY MARISOL MARTINEZ GARCIA/THE PIONEER

By Marinda Avalos, CONTRIBUTOR

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Concord Skatepark is facing a possible closure to make space for a not-yet-approved development near the Concord Bart station.
Hall Equities Group, LLC is the Developer proposing the shut down of the skate park in order to make room for a professional soccer stadium that can seat 18,000 people. The proposed project would also include a convention center, hotels, housing, parking, and commercial space, according to Claycord.com.
Mark Hall, head of Hall Equities Group, states that the popularity of soccer in central Contra Costa County is growing and the stadium would attract a huge draw when teams from the United Soccer League Division 2 franchise compete. The development was proposed in May of 2018 and was voted on 3-2 that same month by Concord City Council to pursue “advanced exploration” on the proposal.
The park sits on land owned by BART, which is leased to the city of Concord. The park has been open for about two decades and provides a safe place for kids to skate, rather than in the streets where they could potentially encounter trouble.
Many parents and adults of the community praise the skatepark and say it is beneficial for the youth, however, some believe the skate park is a danger for kids and a burden for taxpayers.
Community members were given the opportunity to voice their concerns in February at the City Council Meeting. The response from the community and City Council was overwhelmingly positive.
“The council supports the skatepark, if it got to this point, we would relocate it,” said Mayor Carlyn Obringer.
One option they are considering is moving the skatepark to the southern end of the BART station, should the proposed project go through, City Council member Laura Hoffmeister said.
Skatepark visitors voiced their disappointment in the park’s closure during the meeting.
“I’ve been going there since I was 4. It kept me away from drugs, alcohol, and doing all that bad stuff, ditching school and stuff like that,” a 17-year-old skater in the Concord community said.
Charlie Coldwell, director of Humboldt Skatepark Collective, came to attend the meeting to show support and emphasized what a loss to the community it would be if the skatepark got shut down.
“It’s a lot of work to get a skatepark built,” said Coldwalt.
Members of City Council urged community members to petition the BART board, since ultimately the decision lies with BART, with the proposed land being owned by the agency.
Concord agreed to allow Hall Equities Group to conduct additional exploratory research, with their own funds, to discover if it will be feasible to move forward with the project, which prompted a community member to voice his opinion, “The majority of the citizens disagree with the proposal, why are they getting more time to plan logistics?”
The proposed project is still a concept, according to a statement released by the city. Should the process continue, it will include extensive input from the public. No formal plans are expected to be made until mid-2020.

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Skatepark faces possible shutdown