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Skate Park Saga: Lake Isabella Skate Park Set to Open This Year After Several Delays and Modifications

The George and Darlene Randall Skate Park is expected to be completed in December. The first plans for a skate park in Lake Isabella were created by Kern County in 2001.
Posted at 12:02 PM, Mar 02, 2024
  • Video shows locals shredding in a parking lot near the future site of the George and Darlene Randall Skate Park.
  • A skate park is set to open in lake Isabella in December, and it's been a log journey for this community that has been waiting for a skate park for 23 years.

It was roughly 23 years ago that the county drafted plans to put a skate park in Lake Isabella. Now, after several stops and starts if all goes to plan a new skate park will open in Lake Isabella in December.

“It fills my heart to know that this is going to finally be something that’s going to happen.”

That’s Dallas Holguin, a resident and skater who was a teenager when the county first announced plans to build a skate park in Lake Isabella in 2001. Now, he’s a father, and he’s excited for the opportunity to bond with his children at the skatepark

“We’re in a small town, we have a lot of beauty here, but the kids don't have a lot to do.”

Kids like Anibel – who skates with her aunt Kimberly in open spaces around town.

Are you looking forward to the new skatepark?

“Yeah I’m very excited,” said Anibel

In 2001 plans were made by the county for a skatepark, but were never followed through on. After, several community fundraising efforts were undertaken – the most recent being a group named Kern River Skate Park that formed in 2015 to raise funds for the skate park through the non-profit California Recreation Foundation.

“We’ve had a lot of meetings, we’ve had a lot of fundraisers,” said Chris Brayman with the non-profit California Recreation Foundation.

The group organized a grassroots fundraising effort and made an agreement with the county where they would be allowed to build a skatepark in the park using their own funds, then the county would maintain it. The groups received an estimate of roughly 160,000 to get it constructed. However, that plan has since changed.

“It changed somewhere about a year and a half ago, it switched over once we received the community block grants fund I believe, and it went to prevailing wage,” Braymna said.

Now the cost is roughly 800,000 dollars, and is being funded through a mix of community development and the general fund, as well as all of the money raised by the Kern River Skate Park.

But one member of Kern River Skate Park isn’t going to be around to see the park open.

“Oh, she had a great passion for this. She worked eight years, until her death, because she didn’t have any children of her own, she wanted this for the kids of the valley,” said Ruth Frantz, sister of Karene Williams who passed away in September of 2023. Williams was instrumental in raising funds for the park.

“She was so involved with everything up here, she loved this valley,” Frantz said.

The group held yard sales and fundraisers for a project that many doubted.

‘How do you think she would feel right now knowing that the skate park is going to be completed by the end of this year?”

“Oh she’d be ecstatic, that was her dream,” Frantz said.

Now, residents like Holguin are looking forward to a space where kids will be able to connect and learn from each other – he credits skateboarding with helping him stay out of trouble and grow as a person.

“Skateboarding was one of the first things that gave me confidence, I got good at it and it allowed me to know, ‘Okay I can do this. If I can do this I can probably do other things,’” Holguin said.

And Kimberly And Anibel won’t have to keep dodging rocks in parking lots.

“I think it's a great place to have for the kids to hangout after school and have something to do and have a place to skate instead of tripping on rocks,” Kimberley said.

Holguin sees it as a place that will foster community.

“I’m sure that all of a sudden we are starting seeing more people out here skating and biking, maybe they used to or maybe it will bring more people into it.”

And is excited to make new memories with his family.

“It’s going to be fun watching my older son show my younger son how to skate, like that’s a blast, we need more things like that.”

Fratz, planning to honor her sister’s work once it opens.

“She had already bought two decks and one nice skateboard to give as prizes, and my daughter and I have bought fourteen more skateboards to award when we have the ribbon cutting in her honor.”

And when the ribbon cutting on the park happens –

“I know she’ll be here- there’s no doubt in my mind that she’ll be here.”

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