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Lathrop may build BMX park on 7th St.
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LATHROP – Could a BMX park be in the cards for Lathrop?

That all depends on how things shape up in the coming months.

On Monday the Lathrop City Council voted unanimously to remove the existing skateboard equipment that comprises the 7th Street Skate Park – a series of ramps, bowls and rails that has been serving Lathrop skateboarders for a decade.

While most cities went with the concrete parks, Lathrop stuck with the above-ground, skate-specific plywood intended to hold up over time.

The only problem is that too much time has passed.

Metal coping that eases the transition onto ramps is gone in some sections. The wood backing in others has gotten so old that fastening the screws that keep the bent boards straight is now impossible – leaving them sticking up and exposed.

A decision as made by the city to close the park until the council could weigh in because it had become a hazard.

The council’s decision on Monday not only called for the teardown of the existing park, but also for city staff to examine possible alternatives to rebuilding it so that kids living on the east side I-5 will have amenities without having to travel the long distance to the Lathrop Generations Center. The popular skate park at the site has shown that it has drawing power, but some parents are concerned that the distance being traveled is too far for young kids who just want to skate in their own backyard.

“It wasn’t the best park, but it was close,” said Rick Ramos, who had no problem letting his son go down to 7th Street. “It’s across from the police station so you know that it’s a safe spot. I hope that they keep that park up and running.”

That park, however, sits on the corner of a city-owned block. Vice Mayor Omar Ornelas wants to see whether it’s feasible to include future plans to add the oft-discussed BMX track to the area near where the skate park is located once the space becomes available. The size of that lot, he said, is big enough to at least include it into the discussion that will be had when the city comes back with a recommendation on how to proceed with what could be a new skate park.

Lathrop’s project manager Ken Reed, who oversaw nearly every part of the construction out at The Generations Center, said that the idea that would be brought back would likely be something that’s more permanent – a combination of concrete and steel – to eliminate the ongoing maintenance that the current facility requires.

Making the most out of that piece of property, however, might not be so cut-and-dry.

Longtime Lathrop resident Arnita Montiel pointed out to the council that at least a portion of that land should be used to build a museum to the community so that the “old timers” can pass on the knowledge and the traditions that they remember from the city’s early period.

Future plans, including the possibility of the BMX park and the financial feasibility that would accompany it, will come back at a future meeting.