Nipomo's residents might finally be able to roll into the town's much-desired skate park by this time next year.
- Photo From Supervisor Lynn Compton's Official Facebook Page
- SLOW MOVING After over five years of waiting, tractors relocated gas lines at Nipomo Community Park to make way for skate park construction.
On Jan. 25, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to authorize budget adjustments to fill gaps in the inflated skate park construction costs. With escalations in the cost of labor, the engineer's estimate put the required project funds at $2.7 million—approximately $1 million over budget.
While the SLO County Parks and Recreation Department applied for two grants in December 2021 to bridge the deficit, they won't find out whether those get approved until this summer. At the board meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Nick Franco said they were running out of time and that postponing construction would mean even higher costs in the future.
"There's only $1.1 million available right now to actually do the construction. We don't have enough money in the project currently to proceed," he said at the meeting.
To save time and quickly break ground for construction, Parks and Rec met with the Debt Advisory Committee to request a bridge loan of $1.5 million from the Tax Reduction Reserve Fund. Franco said this loan would be paid back through either of the two grants, if awarded, and from future public facility fees. Following the Debt Advisory Committee's approval, the Board of Supervisors authorized the loan at the meeting. The board also endorsed handing the construction contract to JJ Fisher Construction Inc.
A day before the board meeting, 4th District Supervisor Lynn Compton, who represents Nipomo, posted on her official Facebook page that tractors started relocating gas lines at Nipomo Community Park to help with the skate park build. Franco told New Times that the relocation was inevitable.
"We contracted with the gas company to do that work a few months ago and were proceeding with that work regardless of the outcome of yesterday's board meeting," he said on Jan. 26. "Our park master plan calls for the development of recreational features in the location of the skate park, so at some point, we would need to relocate the gas line from under the park property. Even if the board had not approved proceeding with the skate park, we were relocating the gas line so that we would remove that as any improvement issue in the future."
Initiated in 2017, Nipomo's skate park project has been a long-discussed need for the community. The blueprint for the upcoming site included recommendations from local skateboarders who participated in design workshops since 2018. The skate park is expected to be completed by the end of 2022 or early 2023.
Some Nipomo residents reacted to Compton's Facebook post with excitement.
"Wonderful! The more place and spaces our kids can go be outside and move the better!" resident Amy Newman said in one of the comments. Δ