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Mid-City CAN Blog

Central Avenue Mini-Park gets state funding

‘Thousands of kids we want to get off the street for safety’

 

130323MarcosOskateFor nearly two years, the Mid-City CAN Youth Council has been advocating for more park space in City Heights.

Those efforts are paying off.

City officials were able to get approval from the California Department of Housing and Community Development to use $846,950 – originally slated for a Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation project – to fund the Central Avenue Mini-Park skate plaza.

Marcos Olascoaga – 19, a Mid-City CAN Youth Council member who is attending college at California State University, Chico – helped launch the campaign. He was skateboarding in City Heights, when he was hit by an SUV nearly three years ago. [Video]

Despite attending college in Northern California, Olascoaga still follows the group’s progress through social media and updates from his sister – another youth council member.

“It just shows how much work they are putting in to get a skate park,” he said.

Olascoaga was impressed by the progress the group made.

“Before I left, we didn’t really think of any funding yet, ” he said “Now, almost a year later, they are getting funded to get a skate plaza.

Besides, the youth council, other community organizations, such as the City Heights Town Council and the City Heights Area Planning Committee have supported the need for a skate park. This money is drawn from a grant the state originally gave to fund the Festival Park project at the Village at Market Creek.

“If they decide to move forward with plans to construct Festival Park, the City will seek to apply a future year’s Housing Related Parks Program funding toward that effort,” according to a memo from Brian Schoenfisch, senior planner with development services.

Originally the skate plaza was going to be part of a second phase of construction that didn’t have a set timeline

“This funding will allow for the completion of both phases of the Central Avenue Mini Park Project at this time,” Schoenfisch wrote.

Funding for a safer place for young people to exercise in City Heights is a huge need, said Cherokee Point Elementary School Principal Godwin Higa.

“This is a great start, but the goal is to get a park vs. a plaza – Mid-City kids need that,” he said. “I’m so happy that we are now thinking about the safety and wellbeing of our kids on the street. This is just the start to me.

“We have thousands of kids we want to get off the street for safety reasons.”

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