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Skate park still needs ordinance

John Geluardi Daily Planet Staff
Tuesday November 14, 2000

Topping tonight’s City Council meeting will be the yet-to-be completed Berkeley Skate Park. 

The park, adjacent to newly dedicated soccer fields at Fifth and Harrison streets, is tentatively scheduled to open in mid-December.  

Before the park can be used, state law and insurance carriers insist on ordinances regulating park use. Some park rules the City Council will review tonight include required use of helmets, knee pads and elbow pads and the prohibition of loud music and skating after dark.  

Regulations must be posted in prominent places within the skate park. 

“We need to have the ordinance in place or we can’t open it,” said Kate Obenour, who is a founding member of Friends of the Berkeley Skate Park. “We don’t want a finished park sitting there no can use.” 

Lisa Caronna, director of the Parks and Waterfront Department, said the cost of the skate park has soared to $100,000 above the original estimate. She said the additional costs were mostly due to an increase in standards for skate parks.  

“They’ve become more refined treatments and very detailed and sophisticated,” she said. 

In an related item, the City Council will consider banning use of skateboards, rollerblades, bicycles and scooters at outdoor public events. 

This item was put on the agenda by Mayor Shirley Dean in response to complaints from residents, merchants and visitors about potentially dangerous situations caused by skaters at events in which streets have been closed to traffic. The ordinance is designed to create a safe environment for the elderly and children. 

Councilmember Dona Spring has put an item before the council asking that all contracts with entities engaged in nuclear weapons work be examined by the Peace and Justice Commission. 

That would include contracts with the University of California. 

Currently, because of the Nuclear Free Berkeley Act, the city must issue a waiver in order for the university to enter into any such contracts. Approval of the item will allow the Peace and Justice Commission to review these waivers on an annual basis. City staff estimates there are 26 nuclear related contracts with the university. 

The council will also address: 

• Altering the elevator at Old City Hall to make it completely accessible and operable for people with disabilities. 

• Changing the appeals procedures in the Landmarks Preservation Ordinance. 

• Approving a contract with the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce to work on attraction of high-tech businesses to the area. 

• Approve the city’s response to the Final Environmental Impact Report for the controversial Underhill Area Plan. The plan is to build a 1400-car parking garage, office buildings and dining commons on a city block bounded by Haste Street, College Avenue, Channing Way and Bowditch Street. Opponents to the project are calling for housing to be built on the block. 

The City Council will meet in The City Council Chambers at 2134 Martin Luther King, Jr. Way at 7 p.m. The meeting will be broadcast live on KPFB Radio 89.3 and on Cable-B TV, Ch. 25. For more information call the City Clerk’s Office at (510) 644-6480.