Skate spot or not?

I have lived on North Cerritos Drive, one block from the Bixby Park for nine years. We attended Councilwoman Gabelich’s community meeting regarding the proposed Skate Spot this past Wednesday evening.
There were several things that attracted us to purchase this particular property, but one thing we have enjoyed is a relatively quiet neighborhood, and we do enjoy our neighborhood park. We take our dog over there to walk around and just enjoy a greenbelt area. 
Councilwoman Gabelich claimed that she sat in the park for 30 minutes during which only one jogger used the park. I don’t know when that was but this park is well used and the proposal to build a skate spot there would indeed negatively impact the many people who currently enjoy the use of the park. It is indeed well used by many people. 
Councilwoman Gabelich’s opening remarks were couched in such a way as to indicate that this project is going to happen. The more she and others denied this, the less believable it seemed.
But what seems even more unbelievable were the comments regarding the “need” for this project to be done simply because one doesn’t exist in the 8th District. There was one gentleman who spoke up in support of this project but also said that a skate location already exists at his church at 36th and Elm, which is an 8th District location.
But, really, with kids having such academic difficulties, wouldn’t it be of greater benefit to the kids of the 8th District to identify some location for an after-school program that would engage children’s minds and provide recreation as well?
Covenant Presbyterian Church, in downtown Long Beach, where I work, houses an after-school program called Rising Tide. Each day after school, from 3pm to 7pm, 70 to 100 children come to the church for help with their homework, to take a class in music or some other activity, and to be involved in outdoor recreational activities. This program is making a difference in children’s lives in a way that far exceeds what the Councilwoman proposes for Bixby Park, exercising the mind and the body. 
Might I suggest that instead of spending a great deal of time and effort convincing a lot of people that placing a skate spot in a neighborhood that neither wants or needs it is a good idea, why not use that time and City Council cache to identify a place where a program along the lines of Covenant’s Rising Tide after-school program could be sponsored. This would be a win-win situation for the children of the 8th District as well as the residents of our neighborhood who enjoy and use the Bixby Park as it is.  
Peter L. Bates
Long Beach

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