Archive for the “SeaSk8” Category

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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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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webbiteTHISfinalSkate Like A Girl is setting up to become the Vera Project equivalent for skaters in Seattle.  They have been given an office at the Seattle Center, just a kingpin’s throw from the new park, and they are already starting to program some cool events.

The first one will be during the Bite of Seattle, which is interesting because the Bite’s management were the first to come out against the SC campus location for the park.

I guess this just shows that when people come together, good things can and will happen. This is really great news, because for a while there was talk of shutting down the entire park during events like the Bite and Bumbershoot.  It’s still not known what will be happening during the latter.

So when you’re down at the Bite this year, bring your board, and contribute to this event.  Make it positive.  That way we can set the right foot forward and ensure that the skatepark will always be open for skaters during the 30+ days a year that there are events programmed at the Seattle Center.

Bite This! and go SLAG!

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Hubbard gave us a personal tour of the site today, and I have to say….it’s looking amazing.  This is going to be a killer park, and I’m pretty confident that while it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, every skater will at least be able to appreciate it on some level.  Most likely half way up the glass punk wall…

SeaSk8_3_L11 Read the rest of this entry »

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Keep in mind that this is the official opening ceremony and the park will be open before this.

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Seattle Center is going to try and get me weekly pictures, and I’m still trying to get a site visit.  Here are this week’s shadowy gems!

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seask8_bankThe Seattle Center has done a straight-up crappy job at keeping the skateboarding community informed about progress on the new skatepark.  Repeated requests for updates, access to the site, and the the very least some photos had been ignored until yesterday, when we received these two celebrations of brownosity.  You’d think that our City’s “gathering place” would have a better outreach program.

Oh…hey….what’s this?!

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Come on down to Brown Town!

Come on down to Brown Town!

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