The Sheldon Skate Park in Sun Valley is well loved by many skaters from throughout the region. It is a great place for kids to get together and enjoy the outdoors and participate in their favorite sport. However, late last year, residents nearby, many park users, and others had grown weary with how the park was being treated by some users. Many complained about graffiti, vandalism, and blatant disregard for the park facilities. There were thousands of dollars of damage that were being reported almost daily.
I made the difficult decision to close the park down, until we could find a solution. What was going on was untenable and unsafe for everyone involved.
I worked with some of the most active skaters, specifically the young women from LA Girls Skate Sesh, Jazzmen Chavez and Iris Garcia. Together, we organized the skaters to develop a set of park rules and a community of skaters that will act as stewards to help take care of the park they enjoy. We worked with local folks to undertake a major clean-up of the park, including painting, planting, and repairs. When we put in effort as a community, we develop a bit of a “buy-in” to make the park something we have a vested interest in. I have a lot of faith that this new partnership with park users will keep the park clean. I’ve also worked with LAPD and the Recreation and Parks Department to ensure there’s more visibility at the park from both departments to help with safety and prevent vandalism.
On Saturday, March 11th we held a Grand Re-Opening celebration. I was joined by Congressman Tony Cardenas, who when he was on the City Council before me, led the effort to create this park.
Over a hundred people attended. We saw skating demonstrations, were joined by pro-skaters, and recognized the work of Jazzmen and Iris in organizing skaters. However, we also joined in with final painting, planting and clean-up activities necessary to re-open the park.
The community deserves a quality park that children can enjoy safely, and we will work together to make sure Sheldon Skate Park remains one of those places.