San Luis Obispo County Parks and Recreation got approval to widen its funding net for the construction of the coveted and often-controversial Nipomo Skate Park.
During its Dec. 7 meeting, the county Board of Supervisors gave approval for the parks department to apply for two grants, each worth $2.5 million.
- Photo Courtesy Of SLO County Parks And Recreation
- SLATING SKATING SLO County Parks and Recreation hopes to hear back about its new grant applications for Nipomo Skate Park construction in summer 2022, though they are expecting a delay by several months.
"We really only need one of them; we're doubling our odds. If we got both, we'd turn one down and accept the other," said Parks and Recreation Director Nick Franco.
The funding sources up for grabs are the Regional Park Program grant and the Rural Recreation and Tourism Program grant. Both have a request ceiling of $3 million.
Currently, the Nipomo Park project is funded using almost $1 million in public facilities fees, and a little more than $450,000 from the California Per Capita Grant Program that was awarded in April 2021.
According to previous New Times reporting, even with the Per Capita Grant, 4th District Supervisor Lynn Compton expected a rough deficit of $300,000 before skate park construction could begin. But now, Parks and Recreation is shooting for more funds because the plans have gone over budget. Franco said that the revised goal stands at $2.7 million.
"When we went out to bid, it came substantially higher than the engineer's estimate," he said. "Bids right now for all construction projects everywhere are coming in significantly higher."
Franco mentioned that the cost of labor spiked because of the pandemic-affected economy. Adding that to a skate park project—a structure characterized by unusual architecture, like swerves and curves—further shrank Parks and Recreation's coffers, prompting department officials to seek help from grants.
"It's a lot of concrete. For a skate park, you have to excavate a lot. When you do a sidewalk, you're just building a long, thin rectangle," Franco said. "When you're doing a skate park, you're doing bowls and ramps. It's not simple ... and doing that in concrete that's going to last ... that's the main cost."
But though county Parks and Recreation got approval to apply for more money, Franco thinks a long road still lies ahead. Now completing its fourth year, the skate park project is expecting delays in responses from the grant committees.
"The last grant we applied for, they said we would hear back by the end of fall, but we still haven't heard [back]," he said. "The current schedule says that we'll know by summer , but it's quite possible that they'll be delayed on that as well and we won't hear until a year from now or so." Δ