On Saturday, Sept. 8, 2013 the Issaquah Press published news the City of Issaquah has voted to allocate $350,000 for a new skateboard park in the 2014 budget.
The ongoing concerns over drug usage and delinquent behavior helped drive the decision forward.
The sole dissenter from the city council came from Councilman Joshua Schaer who expressed concern that with more money more could be done and how would the project appeal to a bigger audience.
“I fully support doing a skateboard park. It’s high time that we move forward on doing so,” he said. “However, I believe that we can do something more. We can include other amenities to enhance whatever site is ultimately chosen, something to bring other families, other people into the location. Just to move forward on only relocating the skateboard park I think might be selling ourselves a little short on what we can do with maybe just a little bit more money.”
I hope the funds are enough for a respectable upgrade from the currently outdated park with uninviting angles and cracked concrete.
My personal concern is whether or not the funds will provide adequate support for all-season access? I doubt it. Maybe we need to co-opt this project with a Kickstarter campaign to supplement the city’s generous support?
If the park came equipped with shelter in the form of rain sail covers or full pipes and lighting for our dark Winter days it would get more year-round use.
I don’t agree with Councilman Joshua Schaer we need more money for more amenities if the skatepark is properly located. For instance, Memorial Park has plenty of family friendly venues nearby with the playground and ball field. There are restaurants and parking spots for food trucks if the city will allow mobile meals for skaters. Personally, I’ve never been to a skatepark that needed anything more than a water fountain.
If the park were located somewhere with fewer immediately accessible options like Confluence Park I could see the need for further amenities but that would degrade the tranquility of the new open space.
There are several precedents from across the country of skateparks being located near community centers or police stations which would help eliminate the current problems of hooliganism. Successful examples include The Cove in Santa Monica, CA. or closer to home in Bellevue.
I also think the new skatepark will introduce the possibility of broader appeal to audiences of curious onlookers hoping to sneak a peak at Issaquah’s next global skateboarding phenom. David Gravette, who won the silver medal at the 2103 X-Games in Munich, Germany began skating in the soon to be demolished Issaquah Skate Park about 1999. 15 years later Issaquah made its mark on the world stage of skateboarding.
Imagine if Issaquah started hosting regular clinics or events every Friday night similar to how Marymoor Park hosts weekly bicycle races at the Velodrome. Skate Park Community Night in Issaquah could draw tourism and tax dollars!
Do you have an opinion on where the new skatepark should be located? The City of Issaquah has a page requesting community input. Use Twitter hashtag #isspark. Also, take my survey, below.
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