LV skate bowl’s future questioned after church prohibits use

The Gwen Bowl after a recent rainstorm. Though initially a public skatepark on Christ Harbor Church’s grounds, the church’s new owners, Cross Church, based in San Benito, have prohibited The Bowl’s use. Photo by Gaige Davila.

By Gaige Davila
editor@portisabelsouthpadre.com

A skating pool located behind the former site of Christ Harbor Church in Laguna Vista, now San Benito-based Cross Church’s Bay Area campus, has been an alt-culture staple in an otherwise quiet bayside community. 

Sometime between Cross Church’s launch of their Bay Area campus on Easter Sunday of this year and now, a couple of signs have been spotted near what is colloquially known as “The Bowl” on Broadway Boulevard.  

A sign outside The Gwen Bowl posted by Cross Church prohibiting skateboarding and loitering. Photo by Gaige Davila.

“No trespassing,” and, more recently, “No loitering or no skateboarding.”

Eric Brattin, former president of the South Padre Island Texas Skateboarders (SPITS) nonprofit organization, told the PRESS that The Bowl was a passion project, after not being able to build a skatepark on South Padre Island. 

SPITS raised $6,000 to construct a skatepark through skateboard contests, raffles, art exhibits and concerts, taking two years to raise the funds and complete construction. When the City of South Padre Island denied SPITS from building a skatepark on the Island, the organization approached Christ Harbor Church to build a skatepark on their grounds, to which they agreed.

Brattin, now living in Seattle, Washington, has been advocating for the bowl 2,418 miles away from Laguna Vista, posting on Facebook and sharing stories with skaters, visitors and former residents alike on The Bowl’s place in South Texas skateboarding history. 

“I’m many lives away from that whole time, that whole era, but I’m very protective of that bowl, because we put a lot of heart, blood, sweat and tears into making that thing,” Brattin told the PRESS in a phone call. “It wasn’t easy.”

Cross Church’s steeple is seen from inside the Gwen Bowl. Photo by Gaige Davila.

Rumors have circulated about The Bowl’s future, including a plan by Cross Church to demolish or fill in the structure with concrete.

A staff member at Cross Church’s Bay Area campus told the PRESS that the sign was placed there out of liability concerns but could not confirm any other information regarding Cross Church’s plans for The Bowl. 

Cross Church did not respond to the PRESS’ multiple requests for comment. Attempts to reach Cross Church Bay Area’s pastor, Robert Kimberling, have been unsuccessful. 

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.portisabelsouthpadre.com/2020/08/28/lv-bowl-future-in-question-after-church-prohibits-use/

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