The Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica is setting the stage for a new recreational area supporting a variety of sports following the closure of its popular skate park.

The club’s main facility, 1238 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica, broke ground Sept. 8 for the construction of a new outdoor sports activity area and playground on the site of the former skate park. The newly developed area will provide increased opportunities for youths to enjoy more sports, fitness and recreation programs including those for basketball, baseball, soccer and roller hockey, club officials say.

“We are pleased to celebrate the groundbreaking for the latest planned enhancements to our outdoor recreational area that will provide the chance for many more youngsters to choose from a greater variety of outdoor sporting activities,” said Aaron Young, CEO for Boys & Girls Clubs of Santa Monica.

Some club members and parents expressed frustrations with the closure of the skate park, noting that it was a popular site for area skateboarders and rollerbladers. But club officials explained that while the closure was not easy, it will allow the facility to serve more wide ranging activities.

“While we are sad we had to make the difficult decision to close our skate park, we’re confident that the additional basketball courts, soccer and roller hockey areas, baseball diamond and a new playground will serve a larger portion of our overall youth population,” Young said. “This helps us meet the growing demands of our community in need for more youth development services.”

Construction on the new outdoor recreational space began the week of Sept. 13 and will be completed in phases. The entire project is expected to be finished by the end of the year, when a grand opening celebration will formally open the new and expanded areas for youth sporting and outdoor activities.

Despite the skating area’s closure, club officials noted that there are several other public skate parks nearby, including The Cove at Memorial Park, 14th Street and Olympic Boulevard; the Venice Beach Skate Park on Ocean Front Walk; and Stoner Skate Plaza at Stoner and Missouri.

The Boys & Girls Club of Santa Monica has provided club members who regularly used the skate park before it closed with free passes to The Cove in Santa Monica.