Archive for the “SeaSk8” Category

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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grindlineIn celebration of the grand opening of the new SeaSk8, I asked James Klinedinst, the Grindline project manager for the project, to tell us a little about it.

MLJ: Hi James from Grindline.  Thanks for agreeing to answer a few questions about the new SeaSk8.

James: No problem, thank you for recognizing all our company’s hard work that went into this project.

MLJ: Of course!   You guys deserve way more than an interview on this crappy website!  Anyway…as a Seattle skateboarder, you have to feel a special affinity for this project.  How do you think the new SeaSk8 fits in to Seattle’s skateboarding history?  Is it a milestone?

James: Any project that we do is special for us, but if it in our hometown it is what many of us have been working towards for most of our lives; creating a place to skate for ourselves and our friends.  I feel it is a good fit for the Seattle Center.  It is what the Center needs in order to revitalize and bring youth back into our city’s commons.

This is one small milestone in a long uphill struggle to fulfill the needs of Seattle area skateboarders with accessible skateparks and spots.

MLJ: So true.  A lot of work was put in by the skaters and the advocates to get the park built on the Seattle Center campus.  How do you think the location influenced the design and construction of the park?  I mean….it’s pretty over the top compared to other Seattle parks.

James: I feel that the design of the skatepark was entirely influenced by the location of the park.  It is over the top; literally over the top of a building.  There were many constraints that were put upon the project by locating it at a location of an existing, functioning building that needed to remain functioning during demolition and through out construction. The constraints drove the engineering, design and construction of this entire project.  What most people don’t realize is the extensive work done by McClure and Sons to demo and retro fit the site in order to build a skatepark at this location.  It was a skatepark construction project that has never been done before.

MLJ: You guys were asked to work a little differently than you’re used to on this project.  What were some of the challenges you guys faced in the field during construction?

James: The biggest challenge was the foam fill that was used on this park.  EPS foam has been used in other construction projects and even in a few skatepark projects in the past, but not to the intricacy and level that was required at the SeaSkate project.  We shaped the EPS foam by hand, inventing tools and techniques as we went.  The project specification tolerances required us to get the foam to +or- 1/8”.  In fact the foam manufacturer told us that it was impossible to meet these tolerances, but we did it.  This project is causing talk in both the design and construction fields about the versatility and positive attributes of the EPS foam fill.

MLJ: It sounds different too.  You can feel people skate by on the upper deck.  So…SeaSk8 has a long legacy in Seattle, with many people having been involved in past incarnations as well as a strong memorial component to the park with the dedication to James Crabtree.  How do you think this park stands up to that legacy?

James: I think the memorial to James Crabtree is great and many of the bronze skateboarder plaques from the old skatepark memorial were incorporated into the memorial at the new park.

MLJ: Thanks for taking the time to speak to me James from Grindline, and thanks for building another great Seattle skatepark.

James: You’re welcome!

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SeaSk8_open10

Yep.  It’s open.

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SeaSk8_Glass25Seattle artist Perri Lynch was pretty stoked to be chosen as the artist to work on SeaSk8’s art component.  She’s probably ecstatic now that her art has been installed, but we don’t know that for sure because she’s somewhere in India.  Who knows…maybe she’s looking at these pictures to see how things went.

I can report that, yes, the art is installed.  I can also confirm that it is definitely awesome.  Can you guess what the images are that are imposed on the glass?  (The Space Needle is a reflection)

The park is still closed, as there is more pouring and finishing to do.  (note: someone has already posted evidence of a poaching mission).  However, Shaggy and SPAC friend Justin tested out the glass wall and gave it the thumbs-up:  “It’s like skating a dusty masonite ramp.  It’s slippery, but it’s doable.”

Both dudes got about half-way up the glass wall, but were getting another 3-4 feet higher on the concrete vert wall to the North of the glass.  They were both kicking from the SW corner of the park, which is pretty much the farthest you can get away from the glass.  It seemed like Shaggy was getting more speed by coming off the steeper banked side and cutting over, but like I said they both reached about the same altitude.  There was a little barking coming from the wheels against the glass, but for the most part it was silent.  Justin said “it was like skating on ice”.

Go forth young lunatics.  Reach for the skies.  But please wait until the park is open, because if not you will be kicked out, and possibly arrested.

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