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Partnership to improve skate park in Ewa Beach

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    Joshua Galase, right, and Brandon Pagarigan show the poor conditions of the asphalt and ramps at the skateboarding area at Ewa Beach Community Park.

Community members and city officials have forged a public-private partnership to improve the skateboarding area at Ewa Beach Community Park after concerns were raised last year about the facility’s unsafe conditions.

The Association of Skateboarders in Hawaii plans to install two concrete skateboarding obstacles for users, which would cost $37,000, said Chuck Mitsui, the nonprofit’s founder. Mitsui said the group has been recruiting skilled volunteers and gathering donations in hopes of lowering the cost. Volunteers and crews from Complete Construction Serv-ices Hawaii plan to start construction next month and finish in March, he said.

The City Council will need to accept the $37,000 donation as a gift via a resolution that is up for adoption at the Council’s Wednesday meeting.

Once the obstacles are installed, the city plans to resurface the skateboarding facility’s asphalt surface with concrete at a cost of $185,000, which was allocated in this fiscal year’s capital-improvements budget, according to the Department of Parks and Recreation.

Because of the amount of space the new obstacles will occupy, less concrete will be needed for resurfacing, and that could lower the price tag, the department said. The city plans to issue a bid for the concrete work by June.

“Our members were really wanting to have an improved park,” Mitsui said. “Without a facility to come to and meet and practice our sport, we won’t really have a meeting place to bond. We just got a sense of community in the skateboarding world.”

In January 2016 dozens of skateboarders, including several students from nearby James Campbell High School, packed the Ewa Neighborhood Board’s meeting to make a plea for improvements at the facility, which was built in 1992 and had not been refurbished.

Skateboarders described cracks in the ramps, loose pebbles and rocks, and the unsteady ground that made it difficult and even unsafe to use. Some said student skateboarders needed a safe place where they could spend time after school.

Brandon Pagarigan, a Campbell High junior, said he and his friends do not skate at the park anymore due to the unsafe conditions. He and other student skateboarders have been trying to gather donations to help refurbish the facility while working with the skateboarders association.

“We’re waiting until it’s done, and that’s when I think everyone’s going to come,” said Pagarigan, 16. “My friends are going to start going there every day. It’s going to be used a lot.”

Council Chairman Ron Menor, who represents the area, said the improvements will address safety concerns and a community need.

“The property is in a dilapidated condition,” Menor said. “There are many skateboarders not only in Ewa, but also throughout West Oahu who would like to utilize this park.”

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