Delridge: Size does matter.

Photo credit:  West Seattle Blog
Photo credit: West Seattle Blog

It’s still very early, and none of this is set in stone yet, but SPAC Chair Ryan Barth and I met with Tim Gallagher and Susan Golub from Parks yesterday to discuss funding for the Delridge Skatepark.

As the WSB reported a few weeks ago, the Parks Board announced that several projects had bids that came in way under projections, and that there would actually be a surplus of funds available.  They said they would be interested in using these funds for the Delridge skatepark, and yesterday the Superintendent confirmed that this was what could happen if skaters can generate enough support amongst the Parks Board.  Right now, the funding they are thinking about allocating to Delridge is $500K, but there is more available.

It may surprise you, but that’s not enough to construct a park the size of a typical Skatespot as defined by the Citywide Skatepark Plan.  So the next step may be to shift the Myrtle Reservoir skatedot funding from the Parks For All Levy to Delridge.  If you’ve been following skatepark advocacy in Seattle at any point over the last few years, you know that a few loud voices came out to the Myrtle Reservoir meetings and scared Parks enough to put the skatedot plans for that site on hold.   It will take City Council approval, but this seems likely to happen based on my experience and a good line of communication between skatepark advocates and the City Council.  The amount currently designated for the Myrtle skatedot is $250K.

The remaining issue, which has been ongoing for a while now, is the overall size of the Delridge skatepark.  The Superintendent told me yesterday that the amount of funds that would be pulled from the surplus would be gauged by the size of the park being designed.  The problem with this is that the size of the park was reduced to 10K sq/ft because they didn’t know what the construction budget was going to be.

So now we’re in a position where we’re being allocated money based on a design that was based on the fact that we didn’t have any money!

I’ve been beating this drum for a while now, and was afraid this would come back to bite us.  What we need to do right now is to start making our case to Parks and the Parks Board that the skatepark’s size was determined in the absence of a construction budget, and needs to be re-evaluated now that funding is available.  This needs to happen before the design process is complete, which is in essence, next week.

Here’s why Delridge needs to be larger:

  • This park will be West Seattle’s first and only skatepark for sometime, and there are a lot of skateboarders in West Seattle.  This 10K sq/ft park will quickly become crowded and overrun, creating safety issues for skateboarders, and putting undue pressure on the facility’s surroundings.
  • There is some room to expand the design, not drastically mind you, but there is potential for 4-6K sq/ft of additional space that would make a huge difference.  We’re not asking for the world here.  This request is reasonable.
  • The design is somewhat cramped by the 10K sq/ft limitation set by Parks on this site.  Skateboarders would greatly benefit from a less condensed design, with more room to spread out.  The community would also benefit by having a more aesthetically pleasing and better integrated skatepark.

I will be making these points at the next SkatePark Advisory Committee meeting, which is on Monday the 11th, at 7pm, in the Parks HQ at 100 Dexter. Superintendent Gallagher will be there, along with the Delridge Project Manager Kelly Davidson, and Planning Manager Kevin Stoops.  This will be a great time to give Kelly the community support she needs to add some needed square footage to the design, by making some public statements during the meeting.  There will also be a committee vote on whether or not the Myrtle funds should be diverted to Delridge.

There will also be a representative from the committee that is working on an impressive piece of skateable public art for the skatepark, to report on that project’s progress.

This is an important meeting for the Delridge Skatepark!

Please consider coming to the SPAC meeting to show your support, and drag along other folks from the community to join you.


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