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Lakeside Skatepark edges closer to completion

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A passionate group of Lakeside citizens has worked tirelessly on bringing a skateboard park to this East County community, and their goal of offering a safe place for skateboard enthusiasts is moving closer to completion. However, there's still money to be raised and construction to be completed before the Lakeside Skatepark becomes a reality.

Co-chair of the Friends of The Lakeside Skatepark committe Terry Burke-Eiserling said the group's number one priority is to finish securing enough money to complete the park. The Tony Hawk Foundation has been a big supporter of the skatepark and community support and donations have come in at a healthy pace. But the County Parks and Recreation Department requires $13,800 a year be raised to cover maintenance costs, and that's where further financial support is needed.

In a bit of creative fundraising, the community group has come up with the idea of selling bricks. Nearly 100 bricks have already been sold but many more are available for purchase starting at $100 and going up to $450 for a brick with a custom logo. The Friends of The Lakeside Skatepark committee is also continuing to work to obtain additional sponsorships starting at $2,500.

The committee has kept the Lakeside community apprised of all aspects of the park and has actively involved community members in the planning of the park. "What makes it stand out is it is a community project and the community had two large meetings on the design process in which we all sat at different tables and it was kids and adults, we all sat and literally designed this park," said Burke-Eiserling. "It wasn't just this committee who designed the park; it wasn't just Parks and Recreation. Really, the community helped design the skatepark."

And the location of the park was selected to make it convenient for everyone. "We researched the sites and we narrowed it down to Lindo Lake County Park basically because it meets all the needs that we would like: 1) that it's visible, 2) that it's open to the public, and 3) there's easy access in terms of transportation to and from the park," explained Burke-Eiserling. "The bus goes not far from there and kids in that area can get on their skateboards and ride over there. They can walk there. There's easy access for families to recreate in multi-dimensional ways. Meaning, if they've got young kids who skate, they can skateboard there while the family uses the workout equipment or goes for a walk around the park or takes their littler kids to the toddler lot. It's really a wonderful place to put it."

Once opened, the Lakeside Skatepark will be free to use and unlike the majority of skateboard parks, it won't be completely fenced in. "A lot of skateparks that receive grants are gated. They have gates and fencing all the way around their parks, and they open it up in the morning and close it up in the evening. In my research with parks in California - I called around 23-25 skateparks in California - the ones that are fenced, honestly, receive probably the worst vandalism because they'll do anything to get in and be able to utilize the space. So our park isn't going to be fenced except near the bowls. It will have a low level, about three to four foot high fence near to where the bowls are, just because we don't want anyone accidentally stumbling into them," said Burke-Eiserling.

The desire to bring a skatepark to the Lakeside community hasn't lessened in the 20 years it's taken to actually get construction on the park underway. Burke-Eiserling recalls taking her son all the way to Ocean Beach 20 years ago just so he could safely skateboard with his friends. Her son's grown now, but her drive to bring a skatepark to Lakeside is still very much alive. "It's been a long time in coming. The kids have needed it for so long," offered Burke-Eiserling. "I wished when my son was little that there was a skatepark here so I could have enjoyed my park and enjoyed watching the kids. It's keeping the kids and the families in the community and drawing in other people into our community to use our restaurants and show off our beautiful park. That park is absolutely beautiful. It's nice to bring to people in to realize what a pretty place Lakeside really is. It's gorgeous and it's small-town and quiet and slow-paced. I just love our community."

For more information or to find out how to make a donation or purchase a brick, visit the Lakeside Skatepark's official website or Facebook page.

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