Hughes presented the council with a list of suggestions June 5 after gleaning ideas from community members and city officials during a May 25 skate park solutions meeting.
The park has been the scene of sporadic trouble with violence and drugs, according to city officials and skaters.
Patterson Police Services officials have reported responding to more than 100 calls at the park since it opened July 14 at Ward and West Las Palmas avenues.
Hughes’ proposed solutions included replacing the 4-foot fence around the park with an 8-foot fence, so deputies could close off the skate park if too many rules were broken.
Some council members liked the idea but balked at the fence’s $40,000 price tag.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Councilman Larry Buehner said. “I don’t know about the $40,000, but we need to explore that a little bit.”
Councilwoman Annette Smith said she had visited a city skate park in Marina that was surrounded with a similar fence, complete with a teen center next to the park with windows that allowed staff members to monitor activity there. When behavior gets out of hand, city officials simply padlock the park gates, she said.
“You don’t want to be the one responsible for the skate park getting shut down,” Smith said, noting there would be “reverse peer pressure” for teenagers to behave to keep the park open.
Vice Mayor Deborah Novelli, who opposed re-fencing the park, advocated taking a hard line to curb bad behavior.
“If they don’t obey the laws, then shut it down,” she said. “It’s simple. Wear a helmet, don’t smoke cigarettes, and to the bad element — get out.”
Smith countered, however, that without the higher fence, teens could simply jump the shorter fence when the park was gated and locked.
Another popular solution among the council members was hiring a private security guard to patrol the area.
Hughes’ one stipulation was to find a guard who would work consistently, so he or she could get to know the skaters.
“I want it to be a positive interaction,” she said. “A security guard would be able to handle that small percentage of (rule breakers).”
Long-term solutions included seeking cost estimates to move the teen center next to the skate park, as the city of Marina has done.
Hughes told the council she would provide more detailed information for more discussion during another meeting.
• Nick Rappley can be reached at 892-6187, ext. 31, or firstname.lastname@example.org.