City Commission nears decision on skate park and pool

SAN BENITO — City commissioners are that much closer to a decision on a skate park and a new pool.

Today, city leaders are expected to discuss plans about both and possibly take action to furthering plans to build a skate park and pool by summer.

The meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. at the San Benito Municipal Building, 401 North Sam Houston.

The idea of a new skateboard park has been a topic in the community and among city officials for several years.

Mayor Celeste Sanchez has said from the very start that she hopes it can be built by summer. The skateboarders also hope they can have a new place to call home soon.

Last month, a group of skaters and their representative met with commissioners during a public meeting to discuss plans and what they would like to see built.

They came prepared.

Group spokesperson and local skateboarder Stacey Gonzalez started off by providing commissioners an inside look at just how many skateboarders populate San Benito.

Last year, the group started a petition. In the span of 10 months, they had secured about 361 likes and support from people who were willing to “vouch” for the skate park.

“I would say it’s pretty impressive considering we only offered it within a short time,” Gonzalez said.

According to the numbers crunched by Gonzalez, about 3.8 percent of San Benito’s population participates in skateboard activities.

“That’s quite a bit considering we are homeless so to speak,” she said. “We’re not asking for a regional or national size skate park.”

Ideally, Gonzalez said they would like to have an 8,000 to 12,000-square-foot skate park which, depending on the design, can cost about $200,000.

“We might be able to cut down cost through grant writing. I know we would be more than happy to do fundraising and whatever it takes to secure funding,” she told the council.

Parks and Recreation Director Art Garza provided commissioners a rundown on the different types of skate parks there are.

There’s a lot that goes into building a skate park. Garza said the main issue is funding.

There are above-ground skate parks and in-ground skate parks. The difference between the types is in the funding. Above-ground skate parks are going to cost much less than in-ground skate parks.

They range in price from $30,000 to $300,000 and beyond.

Several locations have been considered for the new park, including the Resaca Trail and Stookey Park.

“We can identify more areas later,” Garza said.

Today, the skaters and city leaders hope to make some decisions.

In addition, city commissioners also will discuss and take possible action on plans for a new pool.

Any action on the swimming pool idea has been up in the air since it was introduced by former City Manager Manuel Lara several years ago.

The swimming pool has been closed a little more than seven years and the skate park has been closed for a little less than a year.

Last month, city leaders discussed either remodeling the current pool or building a new pool all together.