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[whitespace] Parks and Rec debates skate park relocation

Campbell--The gears at Campbell City Hall have ground to a halt this month due to the August recess. The Parks and Recreation Commission's only motion last Tuesday was to retain two trees on Marilyn Drive; remove and replace another tree on Hazel Avenue; and remove six trees and replace five on W. Rincon Avenue.

The removal and replacement of trees--whose status hinges on the size of the root ball and its location--are part of the city's sidewalk repair project. Because a tree's growth can make walking on the street somewhat of a nuisance, the city hired a certified tree arborist to recommend trees for removal or replacement.

In other business on Tuesday, several members of the commission indicated their excitement over the anticipated opening of Campbell Park, which includes a portion of the Los Gatos Creek Trail. The park is slated to open in two to four weeks.

Commission member Rita Buxbaum inquired about the Campbell skate park, which is located near the main entrance of the Campbell Community Center. The skate park is in its second summer of operation, although its location is only temporary. According to Claudia Cauthorn, the City's Recreation and Community Services director, the skate park will only be open for another year.

"We'll revisit the Community Center Master Plan and we'll look at the area design," Cauthorn said on Tuesday. The skate park will not stay in its current location, she added.

The skate park, which is frequented primarily by young, male in-line skaters and skateboarders, elicits a question of where to place youth. To address that question, the City Council held a study session to obtain feedback from the community and to hear recommendations from city staff. Cauthorn prepared a "Teen Services Report" that offered glimpses of what other West Valley cities were doing with their teen programs, and suggested three financial alternatives for adequately providing for youth.

"The council wanted to see what kind of teen services programs were available," said city manager Bernie Strojny prior to the meeting. "They've done a considerable amount of research; we're going to kind of talk informally about some options."

According to Strojny, $25,000 has been set aside for teen programs in Campbell. He also said that the Master Plan would be discussed in the next three to six months. Relocation of the skate park is included in the plan.

"We're already providing a significant number of programs, and we've been adding to our list over the years," Strojny said.

Cauthorn's report indicated that the skate park, for example, would cost several hundred thousand dollars in terms of repair, lighting and construction of a permanent site. To retain a permanent skating facility, it would cost $265,000 at minimum; $475,000 in start-up costs; and between $10,000 and $73,000 in ongoing operating costs, which include staffing, repairs and utilities. Cauthorn also noted that maintaining the current location is difficult because of the planned renovations for the Heritage Theater, which is located in the Community Center.

There were, however, several activities and hangouts for teens mentioned in the report, including the establishment of a teen center/coffeehouse and a place for roller hockey. Most of the feedback came from 1996 Del Mar High School students who were polled by an alumnus. Other suggestions from the poll included a battle of the bands and a continued partnership with Lighthouse of Silicon Valley, which hosts the Chemical Free Zone Friday night club at the Community Center for teens.
Genevieve Roja

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Web extra to the September 9-15, 1999 issue of Metro.

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