California city tells skateboarders violating park closure to pound sand — 37 tons worth

by Editorial Team

A popular skate park in Southern California is now under 37 tons of sand — an extreme measure ordered by city officials aims to discourage skaters who have ignored “no trespassing” signs since the park closed earlier this month.

The coastal city of San Clemente, known for its perfect-for-surfing beaches and its Spanish Colonial architecture, shut down all of its parks on April 1 under California’s stay-at-home orders.

Some skaters who usually flock to the popular Ralphs Skate Court, however, couldn’t resist the urge to kick-flip, hard-flip or heel-flip during the lockdown; so they chose to look past the restrictions and ignore the closing of the park, according to CBS-2.

The 14,000-square-foot park is one of city’s only skating-dedicated spaces, serving both the professional and amateur crowd. It offers skateboard classes for beginners, and it’s also the home to an annual skateboard tournament hosted by San Clemente’s Recreation Division.

According to the San Clemente Times, even after the lockdown measures were enacted, city officials say they kept seeing skaters and their friends using the facility. They also spotted some families with children.

“On April 1, we kind of let it play out to see if users would abide by the closure,” Samantha Wylie, the city’s recreation manager for the Beaches, Parks and Recreation Department, told the publication.

“During that [two-week period], we saw people continue to skate the park, groups would gather, kids with their parents; it became a regular [occurrence]. It appeared the closure was not being abided by.”

The solution was to pour some sand on the park — enough to cover the surface with 3 to 4 inches of it.

City officials filled the park with 37 tons of sand, brought by maintenance workers from the city yard, recycled from closed tot lots around town.

The move wasn’t well received by the local skateboard community.

Stephanie Aguilar, the president of the San Clemente Skatepark Coalition, a nonprofit that has raised money to support the park, said the city could’ve done a better job in communicating its decision — even though she understands the need to enforce social distancing,

“That visual representation of the city dumping sand into the skate park, it almost feels like, when you look at it, the city vandalized its own park, and I think it pains people to see it,” she said.


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