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Oceanside's Prince Park garners love, but still has pit toilets

"We get kids from gang-claimed neighborhoods like the Deep Valley, Eastside, Center Street, Fireside"

Josh Carson (bald, in T-shirt): Police "used to show up and give out tickets to kids who were skating without helmets."
Josh Carson (bald, in T-shirt): Police "used to show up and give out tickets to kids who were skating without helmets."

About 100 skaters a day show up to Oceanside’s Prince Park. On weekends it’s twice as many. Because it's free to use and because skating is cool. Josh Carson says the cement bowls are doing a lot to keep Oceanside locals out of trouble.

Place

Alex Road Skatepark

Foussat Road & Alex Road, Oceanside

“It keeps them from getting in gangs. We get kids from [gang-claimed] neighborhoods like the Deep Valley, Eastside, Center Street and Fireside. Some come from a real bad family situation. They talk to me about everything. You would not believe some of the fucked-up shit they have told me about in their home life. This is their safe place.”

"San Diego County is the mecca of skaters."

Carson, 41, has been skating since he was a teen. He says it kept him out of gangs. He’s been coming to Prince since it opened seven years ago. Most of that time he’s been known as the mayor of Prince Park for the hours of time he spends keeping order, organizing special events, and giving moral support to the kids who skate there. He doesn’t get paid for the time he donates to making skate videos.

“I made 100 shirts that said Prince Park but because these kids don’t have any money, I ended up giving them all away,” says Carson.

“Everyone is still trying to figure out who Alex was.”

He commutes daily from Oceanside to his full-time aerospace tech job in Orange County. Carson is not asking for pay. He just wants the city of Oceanside to give some love to the kids who rely on Prince Park to keep them in a good state of mind.

“What kind of a park has a bathroom that you’d find in a third-world prison?” He says because the city has failed to install water or sewer lines to the park, the skaters must rely on an outhouse and a hand-washing station that relies on imported water. “Have you smelled that water? Who cares about the Covid when we are worrying about hepatitis?”

“Prince was not a druggie. He had been clean for years."

Oceanside is committed to skaters. Escondido has one while Carlsbad, San Marcos and Vista each have two. Oceanside has five. “Every one except Prince Park has a bathroom with running water,” says Carson.

The toilet installed at Prince Park is a “pit toilet” frequently used at campgrounds. The city of Oceanside pays to have water brought in and sewage pumped out from the collector “vaults.”

Oceanside has no plans to install water or sewer lines due to expense. It is instead waiting until the Encinitas-based Zephyr Partners build out their proposed OceanKamp development that is proposing 700 new homes, a hotel, and a themed recreation area built around an artificial wave lagoon.

And then there’s the official name. It is known as Prince Park by locals who use it. Google Maps and the skating media call it Prince Skatepark. Yet the official city name is Alex Road Skatepark. “Everyone knew Prince,” says Carson. “Everyone is still trying to figure out who Alex was.”

For Carson it's personal. Michael Prince Johnson was a close friend. Carson used to video him while Prince performed aerial skating maneuvers. Prince was the drummer in the Oceanside band Purple Church whose “gutter-glam” approach reminded some of Motley Crue and other bands from 80s hair metal era. Prince died at age 25, just months after the skatepark opened in the summer of 2013.

Carson says Prince had amazing skating skills and was always a friend to up-and-coming skaters. He says that the popular lore that holds that Prince died due to a heroin overdose is not true. “He was not a druggie. He had been clean for years. He was overweight and just did some cocaine one night. His heart gave out.”

He says he has tried to get the city to change the name to Prince Park over but has been ignored.

Oceanside is finally looking at changing the name of Alex Road Skatepark. The item was discussed for the first time at the October meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission. Interim Neighborhood Services director Megan Crook says the decision to re-name Alex Road Skatepark lies with the city council. She explained that the re-naming of city facilities in Oceanside is taken up in the month of April. She says that the council relies on input from city staff and the appointed parks and recreation commission.

Crook says she could not comment on whether Prince’s early death would play a part in whether the council would decide to re-christen the skatepark in his name. Homegrown NFL superstar Junior Seau died in his beachfront Oceanside home in 2012 following a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The city council opted to re-name the pier-adjacent Beach Community Center and the so-called “bandshell” stage after the homegrown football star.

Carson maintains that the Oceanside police don’t seem to be harassing the skater kids as they have done in the past. “They used to show up and give out tickets to kids who were skating without helmets. They got their boards confiscated and couldn’t get them back until they paid the $180 for the ticket.”

Indemnification laws enacted in the 90s allow cities to operate skateparks on a use-at-your-own-risk basis.

Police spokesman Tom Bussey says the Oceanside police no longer goes out of its way to cite skaters for not having helmets. He says that Oceanside skate parks have not attracted bad behavior during daylight hours because parents can be counted on to maintain order.

Carson is not the only angel who has stepped up to help the Prince Park kids. Steve Zanco, president of Skate Park Respect says his non-profit North County group helps out municipal skateparks after they are opened but are not necessarily maintained by the cities that own them. He says his group saw to it that the parking lot at Prince Park got a new asphalt treatment, helped cover up the bathroom graffiti, and installed bamboo shading structures. "San Diego County is the mecca of skaters," says Zanco. "There are a ton of pro skaters and locals who are coming up here. We try and bridge the gap to help keep the parks in good shape once they are open.”

Oceanside will be installing a $67,000 permanent sail shade structure at Prince Park in the Spring.

Micaela Ramirez says Prince Park is the “…heart and soul of the old school skateboard culture.” Her Poseiden Foundation recently gave away 24 pairs of shoes from companies like Etnies, Vans, and Converse, and 35 new decks to Prince Park kids. She maintains that rattling the cage at city hall is getting things done.

“They finally put in a handwashing station.” She says being outspoken about the lack of protection from sunlight got the sail shades to finally get the green light. “The skate park is important to the mental health of these kids. Its where they can feel safe and get away from gang violence. The [official] name change to Prince Park would give ownership to the kids. They would feel they have a voice and that the community cares for them. He was a friend to them and he inspired them. He may have has his own personal demons but so did Junior Seau. Skating is a better pathway. Trust me.”

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Josh Carson (bald, in T-shirt): Police "used to show up and give out tickets to kids who were skating without helmets."
Josh Carson (bald, in T-shirt): Police "used to show up and give out tickets to kids who were skating without helmets."

About 100 skaters a day show up to Oceanside’s Prince Park. On weekends it’s twice as many. Because it's free to use and because skating is cool. Josh Carson says the cement bowls are doing a lot to keep Oceanside locals out of trouble.

Place

Alex Road Skatepark

Foussat Road & Alex Road, Oceanside

“It keeps them from getting in gangs. We get kids from [gang-claimed] neighborhoods like the Deep Valley, Eastside, Center Street and Fireside. Some come from a real bad family situation. They talk to me about everything. You would not believe some of the fucked-up shit they have told me about in their home life. This is their safe place.”

"San Diego County is the mecca of skaters."

Carson, 41, has been skating since he was a teen. He says it kept him out of gangs. He’s been coming to Prince since it opened seven years ago. Most of that time he’s been known as the mayor of Prince Park for the hours of time he spends keeping order, organizing special events, and giving moral support to the kids who skate there. He doesn’t get paid for the time he donates to making skate videos.

“I made 100 shirts that said Prince Park but because these kids don’t have any money, I ended up giving them all away,” says Carson.

“Everyone is still trying to figure out who Alex was.”

He commutes daily from Oceanside to his full-time aerospace tech job in Orange County. Carson is not asking for pay. He just wants the city of Oceanside to give some love to the kids who rely on Prince Park to keep them in a good state of mind.

“What kind of a park has a bathroom that you’d find in a third-world prison?” He says because the city has failed to install water or sewer lines to the park, the skaters must rely on an outhouse and a hand-washing station that relies on imported water. “Have you smelled that water? Who cares about the Covid when we are worrying about hepatitis?”

“Prince was not a druggie. He had been clean for years."

Oceanside is committed to skaters. Escondido has one while Carlsbad, San Marcos and Vista each have two. Oceanside has five. “Every one except Prince Park has a bathroom with running water,” says Carson.

The toilet installed at Prince Park is a “pit toilet” frequently used at campgrounds. The city of Oceanside pays to have water brought in and sewage pumped out from the collector “vaults.”

Oceanside has no plans to install water or sewer lines due to expense. It is instead waiting until the Encinitas-based Zephyr Partners build out their proposed OceanKamp development that is proposing 700 new homes, a hotel, and a themed recreation area built around an artificial wave lagoon.

And then there’s the official name. It is known as Prince Park by locals who use it. Google Maps and the skating media call it Prince Skatepark. Yet the official city name is Alex Road Skatepark. “Everyone knew Prince,” says Carson. “Everyone is still trying to figure out who Alex was.”

For Carson it's personal. Michael Prince Johnson was a close friend. Carson used to video him while Prince performed aerial skating maneuvers. Prince was the drummer in the Oceanside band Purple Church whose “gutter-glam” approach reminded some of Motley Crue and other bands from 80s hair metal era. Prince died at age 25, just months after the skatepark opened in the summer of 2013.

Carson says Prince had amazing skating skills and was always a friend to up-and-coming skaters. He says that the popular lore that holds that Prince died due to a heroin overdose is not true. “He was not a druggie. He had been clean for years. He was overweight and just did some cocaine one night. His heart gave out.”

He says he has tried to get the city to change the name to Prince Park over but has been ignored.

Oceanside is finally looking at changing the name of Alex Road Skatepark. The item was discussed for the first time at the October meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission. Interim Neighborhood Services director Megan Crook says the decision to re-name Alex Road Skatepark lies with the city council. She explained that the re-naming of city facilities in Oceanside is taken up in the month of April. She says that the council relies on input from city staff and the appointed parks and recreation commission.

Crook says she could not comment on whether Prince’s early death would play a part in whether the council would decide to re-christen the skatepark in his name. Homegrown NFL superstar Junior Seau died in his beachfront Oceanside home in 2012 following a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The city council opted to re-name the pier-adjacent Beach Community Center and the so-called “bandshell” stage after the homegrown football star.

Carson maintains that the Oceanside police don’t seem to be harassing the skater kids as they have done in the past. “They used to show up and give out tickets to kids who were skating without helmets. They got their boards confiscated and couldn’t get them back until they paid the $180 for the ticket.”

Indemnification laws enacted in the 90s allow cities to operate skateparks on a use-at-your-own-risk basis.

Police spokesman Tom Bussey says the Oceanside police no longer goes out of its way to cite skaters for not having helmets. He says that Oceanside skate parks have not attracted bad behavior during daylight hours because parents can be counted on to maintain order.

Carson is not the only angel who has stepped up to help the Prince Park kids. Steve Zanco, president of Skate Park Respect says his non-profit North County group helps out municipal skateparks after they are opened but are not necessarily maintained by the cities that own them. He says his group saw to it that the parking lot at Prince Park got a new asphalt treatment, helped cover up the bathroom graffiti, and installed bamboo shading structures. "San Diego County is the mecca of skaters," says Zanco. "There are a ton of pro skaters and locals who are coming up here. We try and bridge the gap to help keep the parks in good shape once they are open.”

Oceanside will be installing a $67,000 permanent sail shade structure at Prince Park in the Spring.

Micaela Ramirez says Prince Park is the “…heart and soul of the old school skateboard culture.” Her Poseiden Foundation recently gave away 24 pairs of shoes from companies like Etnies, Vans, and Converse, and 35 new decks to Prince Park kids. She maintains that rattling the cage at city hall is getting things done.

“They finally put in a handwashing station.” She says being outspoken about the lack of protection from sunlight got the sail shades to finally get the green light. “The skate park is important to the mental health of these kids. Its where they can feel safe and get away from gang violence. The [official] name change to Prince Park would give ownership to the kids. They would feel they have a voice and that the community cares for them. He was a friend to them and he inspired them. He may have has his own personal demons but so did Junior Seau. Skating is a better pathway. Trust me.”

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Comments
4

A skatepark is a good outlet for the kids. Physical activity after school, and only the cost of a skateboard. As far as the restrooms, they should be thankful they have a restroom at all. Are young boys really that picky about a bathroom?

Nov. 6, 2020

About (the admitting of) "not wearing" a helmet in skateboarding: versus the later quote of another saying (of skateboarding as) "important to the mental health to" ----- is rather contradicting, to this. I remember in the 1990s when skateboarding what a highly demanded fad. Then there were the rollerbladers. (interfering in the way of bikers in the bike lane). Carlsbad was a highly-demanded location for a skate-park; but it was the concern of 'Liability' that held Carlsbad back from going ahead. The image what be shown here,, could not even be imagined by the Carlsbad skateboards back then --- as they knew such was 100% impossible to ever have.

THIS BE A GREAT NEWS-STORY OF TAX-PAYER'S DOLLARS A WORK!!!!

Nov. 6, 2020

Go through the stuff I’ve gone Through in my life that I didn’t choose to go through as a kid and have lifelong friends that as kids we played kickball together but as a young adults due to moving a neighborhood away meant you are in rival hoods and that hood beefs with the child hood homies block so they start killing each other or offing themselves off the Golden Gate Bridge like Frankie or od accidentally after being clean like bobbel or shot them selves in the head like Rj but this skateboard once I’m on it in the zone makes you completely forget about all the curveballs life’s tossed at you and then come bump your gums about mental health and skateboards don’t assist in helping my brain damage. bubba I bet you I can change your opinion on your comments im there daily If you don’t know about life in the hood or mental health don’t speak on it with a know it all opinion. We run that park with passion love and community and the little homies from the bad areas down here in the valley where we live will disagree with you too they feel safe there and I’m there daily to ensure it stays that way but when I’m not there I find out what’s going on and people have warnings and get chances before the park votes and decides how sometimes the local or new comer with negative vibes or bully intentions gets banned until they earn their way back or gets 86ed sure we can’t be there to make sure they never step foot in the park again but I promise when they do they won’t act a fool like they did before and scare these kids or bring bad vibes to my local Park/mental health facility

Nov. 7, 2020

About that same city: it took a delay until the the city chose to covert a sector neighborhood, within it,, having much of a longtime barrio. As the city was rather concealing it, during the years; esp. from tourists.

Nov. 7, 2020

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