Archive for the “Jefferson Park” Category

From this video it almost looks like the park is one rail and a death box, but it’s clear that everyone had a great time at the official grand re-opening of Jefferson park.  If you haven’t sampled Seattle’s newest skatepark because you want to wait for the hype to die down, the coast is now clear.

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Have you skated Jefferson yet?

Sure, there are issues with the lights at our first lit skatepark, but there’s plenty to be happy about up at the new Jefferson skatepark.

The grand re-opening of the park is happening on July 14th, and the skatepark portion of the event will not be under-emphasized.  Marshall is in charge again, SLAG is involved, and there are some amazing skaters and sponsors lined to up make sure it’s a killer time for everyone.

Check out http://www.jeffersonparkjubilee.com/ for more details.

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Hey everyone,

Hopefully you’re heading out to your local skatepark, since we have those now, or down to SeaSk8 at 2pm to celebrate GSD with your friends.

While we’re out celebrating our favorite sport by actually skateboarding, here are some recent updates on new skatepark construction in Seattle:

  • Roxhill is live on the city’s bid system starting today and bids are due on July 11th.
  • Judkins will be posted by Friday and it will bid July 18th.
  • Northgate (Hubbard Homestead) is in the final stage of documentation approval and is going out to bid “soon”.
  • Jefferson Park’s official grand opening party will be a part of the Jefferson Park Jubilee celebration on July 14th.  SLAG and Marshall are working on a fun program for the skatepark so stay tuned.  Also, the new lights are supposed to be in before the grand opening.

 

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Photo credit: Joel Lee

If you’ve tried to skate the first ever skatepark in Seattle to have lights at nighttime, then you know there is a serious problem: they don’t adequately illuminate the park.  This is in spite of the lighting designer shutting down any questions brought forth during the public meetings with quips like “I am a professional, this is what I do every day.”  There was even a bunch of talk about using LED downlighting that obviously didn’t make it into the final product.  (I almost wonder if this is why the shadows exist…)

It’s great that we finally have a skatepark that is open at night, but it adds a bit of insult to injury to have just enough light to skate, but not enough to actually skate safely.  There are shadows all over the park, and some of them could be dangerous if you weren’t familiar with those areas.  Good luck if it’s your first time skating there.

The good news is that Seattle Parks has gone back to the contractor to get a bid for adding more lights and frankly, for finishing the job they were supposed to do right the first time.  It must be nice to be a contractor with the City of Seattle…if you don’t do it right the first time, they will just pay you again to fix it later.

Anyone want to go in on a contractor’s license?

The schedule for this fix is TBD.  I will post more info as I get it.

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Newsflash!  There are six skatepark projects currently in development in Seattle! Holy crap!

Roxhill skatespot (West Seattle – link): the fourth and final public meeting is this coming Monday the 14th, from 6-7pm at the Southwest Library (9010 35th Ave SW), which you should attend because the design process thus far has been problematic and has not provided anyone with a clear picture of what exactly will be built.

Jefferson Skatepark (Beacon Hill – link): the park should be open in the first part of December and confirmed that it will have LIGHTS!!!  It is unclear on how late the lights would be on but fingers crossed it is until at least 10:30 or 11pm.

Hubbard Homestead Skatepark (just north of Northgate Mall – link): design is complete and contractor selection should be occurring any day.

Judkins Skatepark (link): design is final and contractor selection should be occurring soon.

Crown Hill Mini Ramp (Crown Hill: link):  The miniramp and adjacent small bank/rail, ledge and perimeter rocks are fully installed and OPEN FOR SKATING.  Grindline did their usually incredible cement work and the miniramp tranny and coping is perfect.

Kirke Park Skatedot (7028 9th Avenue NW – link):  The design is complete and construction should be starting soon.

ALL OF THE ABOVE SKATEPARKS SHOULD BE SKATEABLE BY THIS TIME NEXT YEAR!!!

 

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JEFFERSON PREFERRED CONCEPT (PDF)

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JEff_compOnly 4 months in the making, which relatively speedy by Seattle Parks standards, the Jefferson skatepark design is to be unveiled tomorrow night at 6:45pm.

Three skaters showed up to the last meeting, which would’ve been a great time to get feeedback in, so it should be interesting to see who shows and what goes down.  It’s probably a bit late to get major changes in, but several things came out in the last meeting and in the Grindline forums that may be reflected in the amended design:

  • separating the flow area into two smaller bowls to accommodate more simultaneous skating
  • squaring off the deep end for true vert skating
  • bringing the street section into focus because Seattle needs it
  • the effect of Seattle Parks discovering a huge underground utility line that runs right across the middle of the site, making sub-grade features a no-go in the place that makes the most sense to have them

I’m mostly just curious to see who shows up.  Even though it’s billed as the presentation of the schematic design, changes have been made after the “final” meeting in the past.  They don’t really need to have a meeting to unveil a design, so it should be assumed they want your feedback.  Show up if you care.

The meeting will be held in the usual spot:  Jefferson Park Community Center.

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Jeff2Based on my count there were three skaters at the meeting.  We have over $1M in the budget for a killer skatepark, and almost no one showed up to weigh in on the design.  I guess everyone just trusts Grindline and the Parks Department so much that they don’t need to participate.  If you would like to let Grindline know what you think, you can log in to the forum here (password: jefferson2010).

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hubbrdThere is going to be a new skatepark built in the South end of Seattle, and Grindline will be designing it.

Seattle Parks has a standard process for selecting a skatepark designer, which is a bit funky.  The committee (I was on it) was given the four submissions that qualified, and a worksheet for grading each submission.  What quickly became evident to me was that I was not really grading the designer’s qualifications as much as I was grading their ability to follow directions.

For instance…submittal requirement #3 on the RFP (Request For Proposal) read:

Submittal #3 Requirements:
Project Examples: List (6) of your firm’s most successful projects varying in size from 6,000 to 20,000 SF. Two Examples must be 15,000 to 20,000 SF. Provide drawings and/or photographs. At least (3) must have been built to completion in the last (5) years. Provide completion dates or current phase, a reliable reference name and phone number, and describe the outstanding features and elements of each one.

and the criteria that I was supposed to use to rate each submission by was:

Rating Criteria:
Did the applicant provide a complete response?

Does this submittal demonstrate that the Consultant team has the experience to meet the requirements listed below?
-(5) years demonstrated experience in realizing projects of various size and type.
-expertise in concrete skate park design.
-demonstrated experience in full site design

Does this demonstrate innovation and creativity?

The Parks Department doesn’t need a committee to weed out the firms that don’t submit 6 examples of parks that meet the size and completion date requirements requested. The process made me feel like I was part of some awful standardized testing program for wayward skatepark designers. But then I got to that last line in the criteria:

Does this demonstrate innovation and creativity?

I dunno….do these pants make me look smart?  By the way…what color is your parachute?

This made me feel like I was evaluating the applicant’s ability to follow simple instructions, which felt like it had nothing to do with their ability to design great skateparks, but I completed the exercise as instructed and planned to provide the “anecdotal” portion of my findings to the committee during our discussion.

The meeting was great. Everyone on the committee not only had gone through all of the materials, but we had all come to the same conclusion as to who of the submitting firms should be given the design job: Grindline. However, there was still much to discuss and everyone had reservations.

First off, Grindline is already designing River City, Delridge, and certainly had a hand in Marginal Way. This meant that the entire South end of the Seattle Skatepark system was in danger of having the same flavor. Especially since many people felt like Grindline failed to really push the envelope on the Delridge design, (the only official park that they’ve designed…River City is a private project and Marginal is DIY).  Delridge was thought to be Grindline’s “hometown” coup, and opportunity to create a signature monument to their legacy. This park is a stone’s throw from Butter and the birthplace of Grindline itself, but to this day the design still lacks a signature feature that defines that park as a uniquely-born representation of Seattle’s skatepark heritage, and will be built that way as the design is complete.

5b-big

Jefferson skatepark is supposed to be a ‘District’ skatepark as defined by the City-Wide Skatepark plan, something that only two of the four qualifying firms even mentioned in their proposals.  This means that the park needs to be an anchor of that quadrant of the city’s skatepark system.  A “crown jewel” if you will…  Grindline addressed the uniqueness of Jefferson Skatepark’s role in the overall system in their submission, and this part of the document was pivotal in the committee’s decision.   So the question remains, can Grindline produce a design that fits the bill?

Or maybe more importantly…what’s even on the menu?

Dig deep into the projects on the Grindline website and you’ll see tiny sparks of greatness. Check out the igloo at Irrigon, the capsule at Kearney, the spaceship in Okinawa, or whatever the hell this thing is.  But even a lengthy browse through Grindline’s website produces a never-ending gallery of grayness+cradle+flow+stairs+rail+bank= “design”.  One thing is for sure, I remember the first time I skated the volcano at Newberg, saw the simple but elegant “tread lightly” manual cutout at Ed Benedict, or rode the weird stamped-brick, stairs-the-corner, bank laden, turntable-in-the-center Dino-Bowl at Tigard. Seattle tried for something like this with Newline at SeaSk8 but didn’t really get there.

Is it just that skatepark design peaked years ago when the cradle first started appearing?  Is it that city Parks Departments are simply too conservative with all of their safety rules and structural engineering requirements to even allow anything remotely creative and risky in a skatepark design these days?  Does the challenged economy make it hard for these firms to put their more “out there” proposals in front of the public?  Is the public process in big cities like Seattle simply too consensus-driven to allow the designer to have a strong vision for something that no one has ever thought of before?

The original design for the Ballard Bowl replacement.

Geth Noble's original design for the Ballard Bowl replacement.

Or are they simply tired of designing cool stuff that doesn’t end up in the final product for “practical” reasons?

To find out, go to one of the upcoming Jefferson skatepark design meetings and try to suggest an idea that you’ve never skated before.  Or better yet, ask Grindline to show you something they’ve been dreaming of but haven’t been able to build yet.  These guys are talented and something makes me feel like they’re just not being given the opportunity to visualize their dreams.  Instead they’re being asked to fulfill a punch card of what’s within the public’s existing vernacular for what a skatepark is supposed to be.

Regardless of who the designer is, I feel like we’re often shown a slide show of existing parks and asked to formulate a digest of all of the features we see and already know to exist.  In turn, we get a re-working of known quantities, re-packaged in a different format, and sold as “new”.  As stakeholders in the process, and powerful in our numbers, I believe we can influence and change this if that’s what skaters actually want.

But maybe skaters don’t want new designs.  Maybe they’re so desperate for skateparks that they just want something solid and unadventurous.  Maybe Grindline and other well-revered skatepark designers know this and this is why they’re still in business.

But what I ask these skatepark monument designers is this:

When you are long gone from this Earth, how would you like your legacy to be remembered?  Would you like to be known as the person who brought manual pads to the masses, or the pioneer who pushed the art form of skatepark design forward?  Surely not every skatepark design can win an award or elevate the art form, I know there’s a balance, but honestly I think all of the great thinkers in the skatepark design field have either gone underground (where are you Geth?) or been forced into the mainstream.

Perhaps I’m being too cynical.

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Copyright Charles PetersonThis year Sub Pop is celebrating their 20th anniversary with a series of concerts and events, which are all benefits for local charities. But the giving does not stop there. Every year, the record label bestows a budget upon a few employees to donate to the cause of their personal choice. This year, one of those employees picked the Jefferson skatepark project.

Haven’t heard of it? That’s because before Sub Pop threw down for the design, it didn’t really have legs. The Jefferson Park re-design schematic has had a placeholder for a skatepark in it for years now, but no real advocates have stepped up to push it forward. This new infusion of cash will get a design process moving and will produce a design schematic. This way, the skate community can not only contribute by helping to plan the features that will be in the park, but there will be something on paper besides a big empty square labeled ‘future skatepark’.

For some reason a design helps people visualize the skatepark as a real possibility, and it makes it a lot easier to rally people for more funding. Congrats Jefferson Park, and thank you Sub Pop records!

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