Project History

1994

Skateboarding banned at Borchard Shopping Center, City begins receiving complaints about skateboarding in the Downtown area.

1995

In response to pressure from the Downtown Merchants Association, Ventura City Council creates City Council Subcommittee on Skateboarding, with the purpose of exploring the possibility of creating a skatepark.

1996

The City Council Subcommittee on Skateboarding identifies Mission Park as the proposed site for a first-class skateboard facility capable of hosting sanctioned competitions and serving riders of all skill levels. City Council approves $250,000 for the project. Specifically, the idea was a skate plaza, a concept that would be brought to life elsewhere by professional skateboarder Rob Dyrdek.

1997

The City Council accepts a suggestion to split the Mission Park project into three small “skate tracks” and allocates approximately $45,000 to each miniature skate track, hiring Driveway Specialists Inc. from Thousand Oaks to implement plans drafted by Purkiss Rose, RSI.

1998

Ventura’s skate tracks officially open in July.

1998

On behalf of local skaters unhappy with the cramped designs and lack of amenities, local skateboarder Chris Long writes to Ventura City Council asking for drinking fountains and inquiring about the possibility of expanding the skate tracks. Daryl Wagar responds, and the City installs the first drinking fountain at the Pacific High skate track.

1998

Long writes another letter to City Council, this time receiving a response from Mayor Jim Friedman, stating that “City Council is enthusiastic about youth recreation opportunities,” and also sends a second letter to The Ventura County Star regarding skateboarding, published February 1998.

1998

Long sends another letter to The Los Angeles Times Ventura County Edition regarding skateboarding, published September 28, 1998 and stating that the community has a real need to improve the parks.

1998

Despite a groundswell of community support for improvements to the tracks, the remaining $114,000 is removed from the skatepark fund and re-allocated to improvements on the gazebo in Plaza Park.

1998

Skate Street Ventura opens on Knoll Drive, supplying a world-class skatepark that attracts tourists and media from around the world for a solid 3 years.

2003

Skate Street moves locations and begins the morph into the unsatisfying Alpine, local skaters turn their attention back to the public parks and Long applies for grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation, grant rejected because Ventura “is too affluent a community.”

2004

A hand-written petition generates 750 signatures of support for improvements to the skate tracks.

Under the grassroots name Ventura County Skateboarders, Long organizes townhall meeting and contacts professional skateboarder and TV star Rob Dyrdek who offers a $250,000 match grant to the City of Ventura for the purpose of skatepark improvements. Incumbent Brian Brennan attended this meeting on behalf of the City of Ventura. Unfortunately this offer never came to fruition.

2004

Long legally establishes the Ventura Skatepark Improvement Committee (VSIC), a grassroots lobbying organization composed of parents, local business owners, skateboarders and concerned citizens headquartered at Five Points Skate Shop.

2004

VSIC and local citizens raise $2,500 through grassroots fundraising efforts.

2005

Ventura Parks and Recreation Commission creates a new Subcommittee to investigate the feasibility of skate track improvements. Members include Sharon Troll, Bill Varela, Mike Montoya, and Jerry Revard, who meet with Chris Long.

2005

VSIC conducts a walk-through of the Pacific and West Park skate tracks with Mike Montoya and Sharon Troll.

2006

VSIC files official city and state paperwork required to raise funds for skatepark improvements. Long moves to San Francisco for family / career concerns.

2008

From San Francisco, Long files second VSIC application for 501c(3) non-profit status which comes back rejected.

2009

VSIC applies for a second grant from Tony Hawk Foundation, which again comes back rejected because Ventura “is too affluent a community.” VSIC creates skatepark support decks to raise operating money and generate awareness for the cause.

2012

Long moves back to Ventura, re-establishes VSIC and launches venturaskateparks.org to again generate awareness about the need to upgrade the skate tracks.

2013

VSIC launches online petition that generates 1,100 signatures of support.

2013

Serio Skateboard Shop becomes the new official headquarters of VSIC. Second round of skatepark support boards get pressed. VSIC succeeds in persuading the Parks & Recreation Commission to remove the shrubbery and lawn at the Pacific skate track, in the hopes of cleaning up the area and prepping for potential rebuild.

2014

VSIC establishes fundraising partnership with venturalocal.com, a local real estate firm willing to give a proceed of agent commissions better skateparks in Ventura.

2014

Chris Jay of the Ventura County Reporter interviews Long, Jeff Spohn of Spohn Ranch skateparks reaches out and offers to donate design services in kind. Spohn Ranch delivers a conceptual re-rendering of the Pacific skate track.

2015

VSIC prints the second round of skatepark support boards and continues to generate awareness for the cause.

2015

Marty Armstrong of the MyOcean Foundation, Jeff Spohn of Spohn Ranch Skateparks and Paul Drevenstedt from the City of Ventura Parks Commission join VSIC.