Live Oak teens use community service to build political capital
Local group wants skate and fitness park built
An ongoing political battle in Live Oak has resulted in a flurry of service projects carried out by the city's youth.
The Live Oak Parkour, Skate, and Bike Association (PSBA) wants a skate and fitness park built in the city.
The group is using community service to gain the support of the community's senior citizens.
On Saturday, more than 30 group members spent the afternoon making repairs and doing landscape work for Grace Partida.
Partida's husband died three years ago before he got the chance to do the work himself.
"He wanted to do that for me and now, the citizens of Live Oak have done that for me," said Partida. "It's a blessing."
The PSBA has turned to community service to bridge the generational divide in Live Oak.
The group's president said some of the city's senior citizens view skateboarders and other action sports enthusiasts as a nuisance.
"The best way to get out there and show people who you are is to do service for people," said PSBA President Miguel Esparza. "Instead of saying one thing and then doing another, we’re saying one thing and doing it."
Esparza said the group wants the park built because the area they skateboard and bike in is dangerous.
"It's (skateboarding) not legal in the city," said Esparza. "We're playing in a ditch."
The Live Oak City Council invested approximately $30,000 to develop designs for the park, but recently, a debate has developed over whether the multi-million dollar project is financially feasible.
Councilman Bob Tullgren said if the teens continue to perform the acts of goodwill, they could build up enough political capital within the community to move the project forward.
"This is the youth coming forward saying, 'We want to step across the line, we want to make this happen,'" said Tullgren.
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