SoCal park takes un-gnarly route to keep skateboarders out amid coronavirus

This is not what anyone ever meant by “sidewalk surfing.”

A Southern California city reportedly dumped tons of sand into a popular skatepark to keep die-hard skaters out during the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials in San Clemente poured 37 tons of sand into Ralphs Skate Court after skateboarders were caught routinely ignoring the “no trespassing” signs.

The signs were posted after the city shut down all its parks and recreational facilities on April 1, as part of the state’s coronavirus stay-at-home order, the San Clemente Times reported.

“On April 1, we kind of let it play out to see if users would abide by the closure,” said Samantha Wylie, the city’s recreation manager for the Beaches, Parks and Recreation Department.

“During that [two-week period], we saw people continue to skate the park, groups would gather, kids with their parents; it became a regular [occurrence]. It appeared the closure was not being abided by.”

Cities around the country are grappling with how to police their public space during the coronavirus outbreak to ensure people abide by social distancing rules.

Wyle told the outlet sand was a cheap option for a park that is not enclosed by any tall fencing.

“We did consider fencing. Fencing is really difficult to get right now, and we know we’ve done fencing at the skate park before, and it just gets hopped over,” Wylie said, adding: “We also considered security, but there’s a cost to that.

“The sand, it cost us nothing to put it in, (and) it’ll cost us nothing to remove it. So that’s why we went with that decision.”

The measure rankled the San Clemente Skatepark Coalition, a nonprofit that helped raise funding for the park.

Stephanie Aguilar, the coalition’s president, told the Times the city could have reached out to the coalition and utilized the group to communicate the need for social distancing.

She said it represents a double standard the city has for skateboarders.

“Social distancing hasn’t been followed in a lot of different areas, whether it’s on our trails, tennis courts, the basketball courts, the walking paths; we didn’t see the city dump sand on the walking trail,” Aguilar said.

“We didn’t see them dump sand onto any other sport area that’s being used. It just plays into, kind of feeds into that double standard the skate community has been treated with.”

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