252015Sep

Beachwood community puts on fundraiser for new skate park

Highlights

Event will have lunch and youth activities

Residents cite lack of safe spaces as need for park

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It’s a long way to $300,000, but residents in the west Merced neighborhood of Beachwood-Franklin are determined to raise the money to build a skate park for youths in their community.

Beachwood-Franklin Community for Improvement will host a fundraiser Saturday at El Capitan Park. The event, now in its second year, will feature vendors, raffles, skating activities and a tri-tip lunch available for $10.

The goal is to build a skate park and youth center in a neighborhood that lacks public green spaces and would give children and teens something to do, residents said.

The Beachwood-Franklin area is centered north of Highway 99 and south of Santa Fe Drive on the west edge of Merced. It’s not easy for kids to travel to skate parks in Atwater or Merced, said Jennifer Sanchez, president of the community organization. A lot of the routes are unpaved and not all families have access to cars.

“There’s nothing for these kids, and there hasn’t been since I’ve been here,” said Sanchez, a Beachwood-Franklin resident since the 1980s.

Schools in the area lock their gates after hours, so students have no safe spaces to play, she said, “and a skate park is what our youth want.”

“We’re just regular people with day jobs, and we need the help of the community to make this happen,” she said.

The fundraiser will run from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at El Capitan Park near Lobo and Drake avenues. It will include live music from local bands, professional skateboarders who will ride with youths and activities for younger children. The tri-tip lunch will be served from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Sanchez acknowledged there’s a lot of work to do before the community realizes its dream. Proponents still need to find a vacant lot, for one. But Sanchez said she is confident the community will pull together for the benefit of its youths.