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July 28, 2021

Skypark set for needed facelift, could be open within weeks

It’s the place President George H. W. Bush landed in Marine One after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, but it’s been largely closed over the past year.

But now, renovations have begun at Skypark, Scotts Valley’s main community green space, used for organized sports, family outings and special events.

The 17 acres of yellowed material that used to be vibrant grass became a small city last summer, as the field hosted thousands of first responders during the CZU Lightning Complex fires.

“They were on-site for about 25 days,” said City Manager Tina Friend, calling Skypark an important center of the community. “We had heavy equipment traversing it.”

Scotts Valley was spared the worst of the inferno, but that machinery left so many “ankle-twister” divots, and broke so many sprinkler heads, it would’ve been unsafe to open it to the public, according to city of Scotts Valley staff.

Thanks to the $2.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds approved for Scotts Valley—including the first chunk expected sometime this month—Interim Public Works Director Scott Hamby was able to organize a facelift for Skypark.

Watsonville-based K&D Landscaping was awarded a contract, worth around $120,000, for the job, Hamby said, noting they started work on July 7.

Friend, the city manager, said additional Skypark upgrades, including a poured-in-place surface instead of wood chips, will come from Prop 68 money, but notes the deadline to submit paperwork for that has been pushed back to Dec. 31.

Jessica Boschen, a mom who lives in the Skypark neighborhood, said before the coronavirus showed up, she would walk the dog through the park every day. She was out in the playground area of Skypark on Tuesday watching one of her boys run after a baseball as it rolled down uneven terrain.

“It’s not flat,” she said, lamenting the various levels of fencing Skypark has seen over the course of the pandemic and fire season. “The entire park was shut down.”

At least her two kids could play along the greenbelt, she mused, as three K&D workers installed the purple-colored piping that transports reclaimed water to irrigate Skypark on the other side of the fence.

With so much dead grass, Boschen said she’s excited to hear the sprinkler system is being fixed.

“I look forward to it being open,” she said.

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