Archive for the “SeaSk8” Category

In an effort to inform the team working on the replacement for SeaSk8, the Seattle Center Skatepark Committee (the skaters at the table) decided to compile some data to determine the size of the user-base for the new skatepark. We also wanted to understand a little better whether or not the 10,000 square feet size target being used by the team to evaluate sites was going to be sufficient for the number of potential users, now and in the future. With skateboarding being included in the Olympics for the first time ever, and Seattle’s intense growth, we thought it would be good to simply look at the numbers before assuming that what the city needs to invest in is a 10,000 sq/ft skatepark.

We started by looking at the best population data we could find, which we sourced from StatisticAtlas.com. We decided to include all of the bordering neighborhoods to the area where the new park will be located, but only if they did not currently have a skatepark. As it turns out, Seattle’s skatepark system has really missed the urban core of the city and there are no skateparks in any of these neighborhoods, so SeaSk8 will be the only skatepark for any skateboarder in lower Captiol Hill, Eastlake, South Lake Union, Uptown, Queen Anne, Downtown, Belltown, Westlake, and First Hill.

Population numbers for those areas are as follows:

Downtown 11,380
Lower Queen Anne 10,244
Queen Anne 24,079
Belltown 11,067
Lower Capitol Hill/Eastlake 22,493
South Lake Union 3,352
Westlake 3,334
First Hill 11,718

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once we felt comfortable with the size of the community this new park would serve, we used the Skaters For Public Skateparks/Tony Hawk Foundation Skatepark Adoption Model to crunch the numbers and come up with an estimate for how big the park would need to be to support this community. You can dig into the details behind the model at the link provided, but the model considers the number of core skateboarders vs. casual skateboarders, service area, population, peak load times, and level of service. It’s very comprehensive.

  • The combined population of all of the neighborhoods served by SeaSk8 in 2017 is 97,667
  • It’s believed that the national percentage of the overall population that are skateboarders is 2.91%. (Again, check the SPS website for how they got that number.)
  • Therefore the total number of skateboarders served by this one skatepark is believed to be: 2,845
  • The model suggests that for every 25,000 people in your service area, you need 10,000 square feet of skateable terrain. This means that in order for SeaSk8 to serve the population in these neighborhoods, it would need to be 35,843 square feet.

Obviously this number is much higher than the current target of 10,000, which is the number that’s being used because it’s the size of the current park. It is also not a foregone conclusion that all of these neighborhoods will continue to not have their own skateparks. But what this data shows is that even without considering the population growth that Seattle is facing, based on the current population, this skatepark may be very crowded if built as a 10,000 sq/ft park!

The larger team including the representatives from the city acknowledged this data, but are concerned that we may not be able to find a site this large or fund the development if we did. There were also some concerns about the timing of this data being presented because significant effort has already made to find a site that can support a 10K sq/ft site. As the primary stakeholders, the skateboarding community wanted to make sure that this data was available to the team and that we are moving forward with as much of an understanding about the size of the potential user-base as is available to us via very accessible public data. At the very least hopefully this information helps to scope the size of the constituency for this facility and validates the effort being made to replace the existing park with a first-class facility for skateboarders and the community.

In case all of this data has gotten you excited about numbers and facts, why not peruse this interesting demographic data?

Skateboarder Demographics:
Core 28%
Casual 72%
Female 23%
Male 77%
12 and under 40%
13-17 30%
18-24 13%
25+ 17%

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In a meeting yesterday, the city presented a rough schedule for the SeaSk8 replacement process. Dates can certainly change and our experience has been that things take longer not shorter, but since this will be the 5th SeaSk8 you would think that the parties involved should be getting better at this. Time will tell. Here is the rough schedule that was presented yesterday. Take note that currently the last weekend for a SeaSk8 session will be on October 6-7th. Details on a final blowout event will be posted here in the future.

Planning – (from now until the end of 2018)

  • Site determination and budget proposal: now until October 1
  • Closure of existing SeaSk8: October 8th, 2018
  • City Council budget approval process: 4th quarter of 2018

Design – (October 2018 – October 2019)

  • Design selection to contract signed: October 1st – December 31st
  • Public meetings and design process: 1st quarter of 2019
  • Design review and finalize: 2nd quarter 0f 2019
  • Permitting: 3rd quarter of 2019
  • Award bid: October 1st, 2019

Construction – (November 2019 – May 2020)

Park opens – Summer 2020

 

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Since my last post much has happened in regards to the effort to replace SeaSk8. Primarily, the team has been assembled and there is an effort underway to determine a site for the replacement park.

Let me try to catch you up quickly…

The Team:

The city has appointed Director of the Waterfront project, Marshall Foster, to sherpa the team through the process of replacing SeaSk8. The team consists of representatives of Seattle Center, Seattle Parks, Skateboarders, Skate Like A Girl, and the offices of city council members Bagshaw and Juarez. So far Mr. Foster has made a significant impact including setting up bi-weekly meetings and running interference between the various parties to keep the peace and momentum moving forward.

The sites:

One of the first things Marshall did was help to bring Grindline in to perform feasibility studies on the three sites that were brought to the table as options: the green space on Broad Street below the Space Needle, one of two spaces in Lake Union Park, and this weird plot of land behind the Ride The Ducks clubhouse. Those studies are moving forward and should be completed relatively soon. At that point the team will try to weigh the pluses and minuses of each site and try to put forward a preferred option to be approved by the city.

Based on the site chosen, a city department will then take the lead on the project. If it’s Broad Street then Seattle Center will need to own it. If it’s Lake Union Park, then it will be a Seattle Parks project. The third site will need to be transferred from Seattle Department of Transportation and it isn’t clear who will own the project if that site is chosen, but it will likely be Seattle Center.

The process continues and there is another meeting today. I will try to get better about keeping the site up-to-date and will back-fill with some future posts to provide more of the contextual information in the next few days to give you a better idea of what’s been transpiring. The process has been much more productive than past experiences, but it hasn’t all been smooth sailing.

More on that soon…

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Yesterday the skate community showed up to City Council chambers and testified to the value of SeaSk8 to our community. We called out that there is no clear budget identified for the replacement park, and that it’s problematically conflated with a maintenance building and an obliquely defined set of “public amenities” in the current MOU. We pointed out that in the past, finding a site has taken up to three years for previous incarnations of this very park, and that gap in service amounts to certain death for the community that relies on this skatepark for everything from skateboarding, to self-esteem, personal growth, mental health, and physical fitness. We also highlighted that this is the fourth SeaSk8 which, in itself, begs questions about why Seattle Center is so allergic to permanence when it comes to skateparks.

Despite all that, Seattle City Council Committee on Civic Arenas approved the MOU and moved it to be approved by the full council on December 4th. They did this without even acknowledging the comments that were made by skatepark advocates, or that they registered our complaints at all. Committee chair Juarez was even dismissive, by making a statement about how non-binding the MOU was, and that there will be changes made down the road. Councilmember Juarez clearly has no understanding of what this community has been through. King 5 seems to be on board with the effort to dismiss skaters by characterizing 10 skatepark advocates in a group of 40 speakers as “a handful“. Is this what Seattle Center Executive Director Robert Nellams meant back in 2010 when he told the City Council that he thought skaters in Seattle were getting a “raw deal”?

Unsurprisingly, The Stranger comes to the rescue with the first (and currently only) piece focused on the fate of SeaSk8 and fairly represents the issues being raised by the skate community.

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Here we go again…

Word recently came in via our friends at Skate Like a Girl that not-even-ten-years-old-yet Seaskate #4 will be demolished as part of the future Key Arena upgrades by the Oak View Group (OVG).  In addition, the Skate Like a Girl headquarters office in the Blue Spruce building adjacent to Seaskate will also be demolished.  Why you ask? Well…in order to build a parking lot of course!

The Seattle Center told SLAG in a surprise meeting that Seaskate will not be relocated at the Seattle Center. They have offered SLAG an office on the Seattle Center campus, but the exact location or details have not been confirmed. The City of Seattle and the OVG are currently negotiating the terms of the Key Arena upgrades in a document called a Memorandum of Understanding (Agreement) that must be finalized by December 5th and is well on it’s way to meet that deadline.

Seattle-area skatepark advocates have reviewed the draft agreement and identified only a single clause regarding the Seaskate replacement.  This clause identifies a $1.5M total replacement budget for Seaskate, a maintenance facility for Seattle Center maintenance staff, and “other public amenities” impacted by the renovations. As we know from previous experience, this amount is wholly inadequate (The current incarnation of SeaSk8 cost over $3m). We also know that without a designated site for the replacement park, skateboarders are at risk of being marginalized once again to the outskirts of town and losing the only skatepark in Seattle’s urban core, not to mention the potential years of downtime that can straight up destroy a skatepark’s community.

In case you need a refresher course on what’s gone on with the last few versions of the Seattle Center skatepark, you can find some history here, here, and on this very website here. But this is just the last 10 years of history. This skatepark has been rebuilt FOUR TIMES, and there is a whole other generation of skaters and advocates that carried the torch for the first 10 years of it’s 20 year legacy.

So what can you do?

Write an email to these people telling them that they need to do the right thing and either leave the skatepark alone, or get crackin’ on a new site and budget that aren’t insulting and inadequate:

sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov
Robert.nellams@seattle.gov
john.merner@seattle.gov
tim.burgess@seattle.gov
jesus.aguirre@seattle.gov
bruce.harrell@seattle.gov
Debora.Juarez@seattle.gov

There will also be a meeting at 10:30am on November 16th at City Council chambers, where you can let your voice be heard and speak directly to the Committee on Civic Arenas who have the power to amend the MOU to include the right provisions. Demand that your city government protect skateboarders from being bulldozed by Tim Liewicki, Live Nation, and all the other big business interests that want to convert your public spaces into places they can charge you a premium to access!

UPDATE: This post originally stated that the group of musicians who sent a letter to the city were supporting the OVG plan, but they got back to me and they and clarified that in fact they were supporting Chris Hansen’s plan that does not impact the skatepark.

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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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Nancy from SLAG wrote in with an interesting event note.  Who doesn’t like skating to the French National Anthem?  Most interesting of all is the fact that kids can earn community service hours by participating.  Don’t be surprised if there are more rollerbladers than usual.  I’m just warning you now.  The French love the blades.

Check it out:

Hey all-

Wanted to let you know that there is a skate event taking place July 11th, part of the French Cultural fest: Bastille Day (1:30 -4:30pm) so if you want to come down and just be part of the fun, or know of any students looking for community service, they can come volunteer by skating in the demo, helping to instruct and to run fun games for younger kids.

James Starlin will be emceeing the day, and rounding up skaters to do demos.
I will be in charge of the clinic.

Also this also extends to the 12 and Under skates from 10am-12pm on Saturdays at SeaSk8.
It’s a way of building continued support for skateparks in Seattle.

Thanks for all the work you do, and enjoy summer!

Nancy


Skate Like a Girl (Seattle)”

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councilmeeting_thumbsupRobert Nellams, who heads up the Seattle Center, recently presented the state of things down at Seattle Center.  It turns out, that SeaSk8 was one of the highlights of 2009!

What was really great though, was how positive his impressions are about skateparks now that the park has been on the campus for some time now.  Something that Nellams and others at Seattle Center weren’t super sure about when we originally suggested it.

Check out 84:00 to hear Executive Director Robert Nellams giving major props to the Seattle skateboarding community as a result of his experience with SeaSk8.  He says, “I believe that the skateboarding community gets a raw deal”…”(SeaSk8) is a great…I will repeat this… is a great addition to Seattle Center.

This is a huge win for skateboarders in Seattle, and a great testament to the work that was done by SPAC and most notably John Carr and Ryan Barth on the SeaSk8 project.

Too bad there’s no bowl!  (ha ha just kidding…)

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SeaSk8_GrandO23When the SeaSk8 replacement site was being pushed around town, one of the arguments against putting it on the Seattle Center campus was that it would be susceptible to the festival organizers.  In fact, some of the most powerful lobbying against a Seattle Center location came from the big three:  Bumbershoot, The Bite of Seattle, and The Folklife Festival.

Ever since the decision was made by the City Council to locate the park on Seattle Center campus, skatepark advocates have been working diligently with the Seattle Center management and the festival organizers, to come up with a situation that works for all parties.  Everything was going smoothly until a few weeks ago, when we got word that the park would be closed for 14 days around Bumbershoot due to safety concerns.  There’s an important campus access road at the corner of 2nd and Thomas, which also happens to be the entrance to the skatepark.  Oops.

What’s interesting about this is that outside City Council chambers the day the site decision was made, skatepark advocates and representatives from One Reel (the concert promotions company that produces Bumbershoot) had a nice little chat about the exciting possibilities of some amazing skate jams with bands during Bumbershoot.  We even got a nice email the next day.  It wasn’t the optimal outcome for them, but they were going to move forward and agreed to involve the skate community in future plans for some killer skate events.  During the SeaSk8 design meetings, One Reel reps were at the table and had plenty of opportunity to pipe up about their plan to shut down the skatepark for two weeks during some of the best weather we get all year.

Alas, two weeks ago, SPAC chair Ryan Barth received a phone call from Seattle Center staff who had in turn received word from One Reel that they would be locking down the skatepark, and were genuinely concerned about finding a solution that benefitted both parties.

So after much cajoling and negotiation, this is the statement from Seattle Center regarding what will happen to the skatepark during Bumbershoot:

On August 27, One Reel will construct a fence around most of the skate park (For logistical issues, the fence line will run along the old Pav A footprint line which means the overhang will be on the Bumbershoot side). The fence will continue South to the new guard shack. Entry to the skate park will remain open to the public via Thomas (West of the
new guard shack).

An admissions guard will be hired during busy load in activity to ensure safety to the public.

On the three festival dates (Sep 5-7) the skate park will be within the Bumbershoot fence line but still accessible to skaters. Skateboards will be allowed into the festival (except stadium) which is consistent with previous years festival policy. The entry to the skate park during the festival will move North toward the ATM. The Pavilion Courtyard will remain fenced for production space.

When the perimeter fences go down at the end of the festival Monday night, the fence will revert to the load in configuration. With admissions assisting with skater safety.

No later than September 11 all fences will be removed and the area around skate park will return to normal operations.

Now, keep in mind, the original plan was to close the skatepark for something like 45 days during the Summer months for all the festivals, but Folklife and The Bite of Seattle have since seen the light (and perhaps the X Games) and have decided to include skateboarding activities in their events.  Let’s hope that next year the One Reel folks either figure out a way to program some killer skate action in the park, or simply configure the fencing in a way that allows the park to stay open to non-paying customers (preferred).

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SeaSk8_GrandO2Last Saturday marked the first time in Seattle history, when city officials including Seattle Center staff, openly welcomed sanctioned skateboarding on the Seattle Center campus.  This milestone culminates over 10 years of volunteer effort initiated by a Seattle Center staff member, James Crabtree, and has been carried to completion through several waves of Seattle skatepark advocates.  Sure, there were previous instances of a Seattle Center skatepark, but none of those were actually at the Seattle Center.

The mood was festive, and the skating was furious.  Everyone was there, except the mainstream media and Mayor Nickels, who was celebrating something arguably less important across town at the same time as the ribbon cutting ceremony.  Regardless, Councilmembers Drago (Nickels’ competition in the upcoming Mayoral election), Conlin, Clark, and Rasmussen, were all there to speak on behalf of their substantial amount of support for locating the park on the Center Campus, and for skateparks in general.

Now it’s up to Seattle skateboarders not to blow a good thing…

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