Archive for the “Lower Woodland” Category

Taken New Years Day by yours truly:

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sad_sparkler.jpgFor skaters in Seattle, last year kinda sucked.

It started off crappy. I remember January 3rd, 2007 like it was yesterday. I was sitting at my desk at work, and someone from the Stranger called to ask me how I felt about the demolition of SeaSk8. I had spent the previous 4 years on the SPAC, going to countless meetings, but for some reason no one at Seattle Center felt like notifying any of us about the scheduled bulldozing of a beloved Seattle skatepark.

As 2007 rolled on, the Seattle Center staff, who report to Mayor Nickels, continued to play a shell game with the new location for SeaSk8. Corporate tenants the Experience Music Project, Pacific Science Center, and the Space Needle, fought successfully to keep the new skatepark out of the best location on Broad Street. David Della’s Parks committee then chose a new site on top of a beloved piece of art work. Finally, the City Council, tired and bewildered after years of squabbling over what should’ve been a no-brainer, forced the park into it’s current 2nd and Thomas ‘Pavilion’ site to the tune of 4+ Million dollars and the demolition of an actively-used building.

But things were looking up around August when Kris Fuller gave up on her costly litigation against the Lower Woodland skatepark. However it was not good news when it was said and done. She succeeded in stalling the park’s construction for over a year, and sapped over $20K out of park’s budget in delay and cost increases.

In West Seattle, a few angry neighbors managed to intimidate the Parks Department into pulling skateparks off of two improvement projects. At Ercolini Park, the organizers of the project didn’t even understand why Parks had removed the skate dot from the plans, because “one person had some concerns about noise but that was about it”. At Myrtle Reservoir, 20 neighbors showed up and voiced concerns about crime, degenerate skaters, and a general decline of peace and civility that the skatepark would bring. Further investigation into the emails sent to the Seattle Parks Department told a different story, where neighbors were simply afraid of the kids in the lower income High Point neighborhood coming to play near their houses.

More great news washed over the group that’s been successfully heading up the River City Skatepark project in South Park. They were awarded the remainder of the money they needed through a Department of Neighborhoods grant. This signaled the end of a very positive and successful process in which a community will be building a skatepark that has been entirely funded and driven by citizen effort, totally outside of the Parks Department process.

The city-wide skatepark plan was adopted, ushering in 27 pre-vetted sites as a result of an exhaustive 9-month public process.

Marginal Way poured a huge slab of flat and some more transition, cementing their place as a monument to Seattle skateboarder tenacity, dedication, and incredible sense of community.

2008 may very well be a pivotal year in Seattle’s skatepark history. Lower Woodland will be completed in a few months, and SeaSk8 construction will begin. River City will also be completed, and there are currently efforts in City Council to get funding for skateparks in Judkins, Jefferson, Delridge, and Roxhill. A skatedot fund is also being discussed.

It’s wise not to get your hopes up, as we’ve learned after repeated stalls and bumps along the road to getting more skateparks built in Seattle. But an optimistic eye would see at least a few great opportunities to turn this train around and get Seattle back on the track to becoming a great city for young and old skateboarders alike in 2008.

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Seattle’s newest skatepark advocate, Rocky Tharpe, sent in these photos of the Lower Woodland site taken today. Sahli seem to be getting some work done, and it seems that finally Seattle’s street skaters will have a park with something in it worth skating. It does look like there may not be enough run-up to anything, though it’s hard to tell from these photos.img_3315_1_1.JPG

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woodland1.jpgWally Hollyday, the designer for the Lower Woodland skatepark, met with several members of the Skatepark Advisory Committee today to discuss their concerns with the project’s design documents.

The builder, T.F. Sahli, is known for sticking like glue to the details on skatepark design documents and building the park exactly as it was defined in the spec, and the skaters usually suffer for it. Key skatepark details like the changing grade on a hip’s radius are often difficult to detail on paper and left for the builder to interpret in the field. When the builder doesn’t skate, this is a problem.

SPAC members arrived with an annotated version of the design document, and a short list of concerns regarding drainage, conflicting information, mismatching spot elevations, and a few odd design notes. Wally was totally receptive to all of the concerns raised, and was genuinely happy to have such well-informed feedback.

However, even though he will be here for all of the pours, Wally will not be here for the entire duration of the build, so it will be important for Seattle skaters to take photos of the park as it progresses. If you live in the neighborhood, or find yourself passing by, please snap a few photos and send them to us. We’ll make sure he gets them and stays informed of the progress.

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money_burning.jpgBrown, withered, dirty space-full-of-dead-grass advocates suffered a serious setback at Lower Woodland today, when the individual who had been holding up the Lower Woodland Skatepark for the last year-and-a-half decided to drop her lawsuit challenging the SEPA declaration for the Lower Woodland Skatepark based on (of all things) aesthetics.

You may remember that this person, falsely representing herself as a bogus neighborhood group, delayed the project to the tune of $200K+ of cost increases and submitted us all to an almost two year long limbotomy.

Sure, the Parks Department gave builder T.F. Sahli the green light to move forward over a month ago, but they were taking a calculated risk, because the skater-haters had another appeal opportunity. If they had won what would’ve been their third appeal, then Parks would’ve had to rip out the work Sahli had done so far. An unlikely scenario…sure… but so is the idea that a single individual would spend so much of their own money, to challenge the skatepark based on the premise that it would be aesthetically less pleasing than a big patch of dirt and dead grass.

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lowerwood_phase2.jpgSpend some extra time on that bomb shelter project this weekend… T.F. Sahli broke ground on Lower Woodland this week, which is most certainly the 6th or 7th sign of the apocalypse.

Maybe the hole they’re digging will open up a gate to another dimension. A dimension where a group of people who live across the very busy and noisy street from Seattle’s most heavily used park, that’s brightly lit and often being used for multiple simultaneous sporting events until 11pm every night, would not be able to stall a skatepark project in that space for over a year-and-a-half; costing the taxpayers over $200K in inflation and administrative costs.

Perhaps in this alternate universe, the skatepark opponents would not have used ridiculous arguments like noise, and “skateboarders have been known to play with goat’s blood”, in an effort to shove the skatepark back away from the street – actually creating a more conducive environment for the anti-social behavior they fear so much, due to lack of sight lines and spectator exposure.

Who knows, maybe it’s just a place where skateboarders of all ages have a well designed, positive, and vibrant place to get their shred on.

Check out Dan’s page for photos.

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Score one for sanity.

The woman who has been selfishly stalling the Lower Woodland skatepark, to the tune of over $200K public tax dollars wasted on rising construction costs and procedural delays, was denied her appeal in King County superior court today.

She has 30 days to appeal this decision, although she must post a large bond in order to do so.

The down side is that she has effectively reduced the scope of the skatepark with her stalling tactics by keeping the city at bay while concrete and steel prices go through the roof.

To say that the system that allows individuals to waste gross amounts of public resources to further their own agenda…is broken…would be an understatement.

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Jonah from the Stranger, a publication that continues to support Seattle’s skatepark advocacy scene, wrote up a brief report on Lower Woodland and the general State of Skate in Seattle in this week’s issue.

Continued thanks and gratitude to Jonah and The Stranger!

Update: another post appeared today.

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The briefing for the Lower Woodland appeal case being made by the Lower Woodland Neighbor Association has been made available. In an interesting turn of events, the anti-skatepark information previously available at their website (www.lowerwoodland.org) is now gone.  If you want to see what Kris Fuller used to be spouting, check out the archive of what used to be on the LWNA site.

Regardless, the briefing is actually interesting reading and it’s available here: Lower Woodland Brief

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