Bring back the Cove Skatepark Staff in Santa Monica

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We understand the seriousness of the budget shortage and still we are asking that the Santa Monica City Council reconsider their decision to lay off highly experienced administrators of the Cove, notably Rick Boisdeau and Brian Adams. If the skate-park is re-opened with reduced hours and inexperienced staff it will create a safety risk as well as a serious blow to the community. Fees are currently very affordable and if increased could perhaps prevent these damaging cuts. Attendance at the park has steadily increased in the past year. As parents, coaches and skaters we are concerned that with shortened hours and inexperienced staff, once re-opened the skate park will lack the safety and enjoyment it has been known for.

It is impossible to overstate the value that Rick and Brian bring to the Cove. From a risk management perspective, they are highly experienced, competent, and knowledgeable about the sport of skating and can maintain safety through peak hours with high numbers of kids and adults at completely different skill levels. When beginners and intermediate skaters swamp the park area, crashes and injuries become more likely. For the safety of local and visiting skaters, it is important to maintain the excellent staffing from which we have benefited to date. 

From a community perspective, Rick and Brian have made the park into an extraordinary place, a second home for many of us - it is no coincidence that attendance has increased under their watch. Rick has been instrumental in the success of the Cove Girls program, a twice-monthly girls-only skate session that has positively impacted the lives of so many girls. Brian, who outside the Cove is a teacher trained in Special Ed, teaches the kids to play chess and is always reading books, though typically his desk is busy with kids who want to chat with him. Rick and Brian both model sportsmanship, fairness, patience, and leadership. Our kids learn so much from them, in fact we all do - they are truly beloved.

Skating was once a rogue activity with origins here in LA; it is now an Olympic sport and recognized as one of the healthiest ways to develop resilience and brain activity.  A recent article by Chris Lawton is one study among many outlining how skateparks contribute to the revitalization of urban space and provide important social and cultural benefits. For these benefits to be realized it is vital to maintain the sense of community, respect for the sport and each other that has flourished thanks to Rick Boisdeau and Brian Adams. 

Please consider the impact to the safety, health and well-being of our community and sign this petition to help bring them back.