Learn about the 25+ years worth of hard work from the Board and others to bring a skatepark to Ramona
History of the Skatepark
Ramona Skatepark Champions is a 501c3 charitable corporation #47-2731456. Our mission is to raise money to build a skatepark to support safe and healthy action sports in Ramona and the Backcountry. The Ramona Action League is a committee which operates an after-school skateboarding program with portable equipment at participating community partners.
The skatepark site we are looking at is behind the community library on Main Street. The County already owns this land, and has designated it to be an “Intergenerational Park” providing recreational facilities for all ages, including senior care facilities and a community skatepark. Ramona is an unincorporated community of San Diego County and the County requires the community produce an established non-profit to enter a “maintenance agreement,” before building a community park. We were established in 2015 in order to meet the County requirements for a community skatepark.
The history of the skatepark project in Ramona is long and goes back beyond our launch as the local advocates. The following history represents what we think we know from putting together articles in the Ramona Sentinel and local word-of-mouth histories and is as accurate as our understanding. We love to talk about this project and would happily accept corrections from people who know more.
- Approx 2000 – Rick Chappel and friends host a Vert Ramp skatepark in a parking lot of a vacant building on Highway 67. This was the first ever skatepark effort. The story as I heard it told was that Rick got a dozen or more Ramona teens and kids to join him to go to County Supervisor at the time, Diane Jacob’s office, in El Cajon to demand a skatepark in Ramona. They are told they need a “maintenance entity 1 .”
- 2009 – The ARRIBA Skatepark Committee established a Teen Center as a proposed maintenance entity for a Ramona Skatepark. This effort is led by board president Kim Lasley, Vice President Jason Carney, Secretary Nancy Roy and Director Jake Doomey. Link with more information.
- 2011 – the Ramona Library is opened. ARRIBA Skatepark Committee targets land behind the library for potential skatepark. Link with more information.
- 2012 – Joe Minervini begins an effort with the County to establish a skatepark project in Ramona, then learns of the ARRIBA Skatepark Committee and relinquishes efforts. Link with more information.
- 2014 – ARRIBA Teen Center struggles constantly from lack of volunteers, donations, and attendance, and finally closes in 2014. The committee is not cohesive to continue to be a maintenance entity. Link with more information.
- 2014 – A new non-profit is formed, called “Ramona Skatepark Champions,” to pick up the baton and stay ready to meet the maintenance entity requirements for a skatepark in Ramona.
- 2016 – The first concept drawings are released by the County for the park behind the library to be called the “Ramona Intergenerational Community Campus.” These plans include a skatepark, as well as a teen center, and a senior center. The County begins throwing obstacles in front of the project and begins a long and painful stonewalling process that continues to this day.
- 2017 – The Ramona Planning Group earmarks $250,000 of PLDO (Park Lands Dedication Ordinance) funds to the Ramona Skatepark project. The PLDO fund is comprised of fees collected from residential developers in Ramona, to the tune of about $750 per residential unit, that is dedicated to park development in Ramona. Link with more information.
- 2018 – Ramona Skatepark Champions learn of new requirements of maintenance entities, that they must have an established business plan that evidences they can support the ongoing maintenance costs of the proposed park. Ramona’s Pop-up Skatepark becomes that business plan.
- 2020 – COVID closes the pop-up skatepark, but the organization remains committed to the cause.
- 2021 – Pop-up skatepark relaunches, post-COVID.
- March of 2022 – County announces at least 5-10 years away from a skatepark at the RICC.
- July of 2022 – County announces they are no longer sure they intend to build a skatepark at the RICC, at all, and it is just “too far off” to speculate what they will build. Ramona Skatepark Champions begin effectively advocating for skatepark at the County Department of Parks and Recreation, reminding them of their previous promises, and demonstrating a clear need.
- August of 2022 – County announces Skatepark will be funded in the 2023-2024 fiscal year with construction projected to begin in 2026. Announces recent policy change that does away with requirement of a local maintenance entity for parks in unincorporated areas. Ramona Skatepark Champions board votes to continue operating until a skatepark is built, because anything can change with the County, and usually does. Also, released of the requirement of maintenance entity for Ramona Skatepark, RSC votes to begin advocating a BMX park in Ramona, as a private build, if necessary, as the County has expressed no interest in picking up this project as of the time of this printing.
1 A “Maintenance Entity” for parks was required by the County in unincorporated areas prior to about 2019 or 2020. It is unclear exactly when the policy changed. The County accepted the responsibility for building parks in unincorporated communities but expected the unincorporated community to put forth a 501c3 non-profit entity to sign a “Maintenance Contract” with the County that commits the non-profit to raise funds to reimburse the County for maintenance of community parks in unincorporated communities, in perpetuity. The exact requirements of the contract signed by individual maintenance entities in various communities might be different based on the facility and expected maintenance costs. The requirements became more stringent as time went on and various communities non-profits went defunct trying to meet the requirements. Ultimately, the County has changed the policy and now builds the cost of ongoing maintenance of County park facilities in the regular parks budget.
Won’t you help us in this noble pursuit? We could sure use your help!
PO Box 1169
Ramona, CA 92065