Archive for the “South Seattle” Category

Parks just gave us word that Grindline is the apparent low bidder for the Roxhill park.  This is great news!

However, they were careful to note that there is no room in the budget for any embellishments, so don’t get your hopes up for any fancy Grindline upgrades to California Skateparks less-than bonkers design.

The real question is why does a skatepark this size cost $75 per sq/ft?  It seems like there’d be a lot more room for a better skatepark if it didn’t cost so damn much to build them here in Seattle.

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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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..and…I dunno…they feel pretty uninspired.

Parks has this scheduled to go out to bid in late May, with construction beginning in July.

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Technically not Seattle, but close enough, this report just came in from Brenden in SeaTac:

” New skatepark location is at the Seatac Community Center (13735 24th Avenue South, SeaTac, WA) near the basketball court. Skatepark will be about 6,000sq feet with a 250K budget. The skatepark is being designed by Grindline and while small looks to be really impressive. Last nights meeting had Micah from Grindline  to talk to use about the park and get some ideas on what we would like to see and that park and changes for the final design. About 10 people were there 8 rollerbladers and two younger skateboarders all had really good input into the park. They want to finalize the design this winter and put out to bid early next year so it can be built next summer.”

Even though this is in SeaTac, Seattle skaters should take note because the budget and size of this park is very similar to that of Roxhill, but there is a clear and distinct difference in what Grindline is showing here compared to the 3-5 ideas California Skateparks has been showing throughout the Roxhill process.

My advice to the kids in Gatewood is to start researching the bus routes to SeaTac.

 

 

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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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Don’t forget to attend the meeting for the Judkins Park skatespot, which will be designed by Grindline.

The meeting will be held at the Douglass-Truth Branch Library, 2300 E. Yesler Way.

Yes, Seattle Parks is building ANOTHER skatepark!!!

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I have been saying this for a while now, but 2011 is the year of the Seattle Skatepark. There are seven parks in development right now.  As in…actually happening.  This is huge.

But they can’t happen without your input, and it’s still really important for skaters to participate so these parks give the area skaters what they need.  Here are the next few meetings scheduled.  Please show up and give the designers your opinion!

Roxhill Park Skatespot
The first public meeting for the Roxhill Park skatespot will take place on Wednesday, August 10, from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the Southwest Library at 35th and Henderson.
Benefit Park Skatedot
The first public meeting for the Benefit Park skatedot will take place on Thursday, August 11, from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the Benefit Park Picnic Shelter.
Judkins Park Skatespot
The first public meeting for the design of the new Judkins Park skatespot will take place on Wednesday, August 17th from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. at the Douglass-Truth Branch Library.

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Yesterday I lied.

I said you’d be the first to know when I heard more news, but the WSB posted something yesterday (it’s worth reading, the comments are great).  To be honest, I was too frustrated and angry to write anything cogent.  I’ve been working within the Seattle public process as a volunteer skatepark advocate for almost 9 years now, and it’s definitely been getting better over the last few years.  Seattle Parks has gotten into the habit of building these parks on their own accord, which is a complete turnaround from trying to remove the Ballard Bowl and not replace it with anything.  But this recent Delridge stuff, my friends, is an unfortunate return to the classic Seattle Parks of 2004.  When autocratic decisions came from out of nowhere, seemed to conflict with previous Parks decisions, communication was vague, and somehow you always felt like you were getting schemed on.

Here’s the letter we got in response, for those who missed it:

From: Kevin Stoops
Seattle Parks Department

Earlier today we decided to reject all bids for the Delridge Skatepark and rebid this project later this year or early next year for mid-2011 construction.

This decision has been reached after a review of the very restrictive supplemental bidder qualifications that were issued by addendum to the original project requirements.  These focused on volume of work rather than  specific construction requirements to complete the work, and are unnecessarily restrictive.  the project will be re-bid with clearer contractor qualification requirements outlined in the construction documents.  The design of the skatepark will not be changed.

Further, issuance of a construction contract involving excavation and concrete work at this time of year will be problematic was we are now ready to enter a wet rainy period for some time.  The construction window for such concrete work is already rapidly coming to an end for 2010 and an extremely wet winter is forecast.   Starting construction in the face of such would likely lead to unintended site costs due to wet conditions.

My first observation is that Mr. Stoops is standing behind the position that the qualifications were “very restrictive”.  It’s very telling that the word “restrictive” is even being used here.  These qualifications are only restrictive if you’re an unqualified contractor or a Parks Department that’s trying to hire one.  It’s an “empowering” set of qualifications for skateboarders, and skatepark design/build artisans.  It’s “defensive” for anyone who’s skated a park that’s been built by an unqualified builder.  It’s “comforting” for someone who is concerned about the quality of the product that their tax dollars are going toward.  The use of that word sheds light on where the Parks Department is coming from on this issue, that’s for sure.

We also sent Mr. Stoops five examples from other cities that were almost identical to the Delridge RFQ.  That should’ve at least been proof that these “restrictions” were not unprecedented.  We sent him a case study from one city where they wished they had “restricted” themselves to a more qualified contractor because their park is now needing repair less than 3 years after it was built.  We also detailed in a very long letter, all of the reasons why skateboarders feel the qualifications are warranted and fair.  I’m not sure why our opinions aren’t being addressed, but they aren’t, most certainly not in his written response.  I understand why these people need to be careful with what they say in public statements, but to not address the very well thought out case that we presented to them leaves too many questions unanswered, and leaves a group of passionate volunteers feeling grossly dismissed.

It’s also somewhat puzzling that he refers to a lack of “specific construction requirements” as another reason for this move, as the SPAC has consistently been told by Parks that we were not allowed to use specific construction requirements because it was too restrictive.  We’ve repeatedly tried to include more specific language in these RFQ documents, and have always been told that those types of requirements were rejected by the legal staff and higher-ups.  The existing and now-controversial qualification language is a product of several rounds of more specific language being rejected by Seattle Parks as inappropriate.  Every single RFQ that I’ve seen go through internal Seattle Parks iteration gets less specific, not more.

Hopefully these new “clearer” requirements will shine some light on what exactly is kosher when it comes to these requirements, because right now it’s completely unclear what is and what is not appropriate at this point.

But the subject of the second paragraph of Mr. Stoops’ letter is what you should really be worried about: schedule.

Is the Parks Department trying to torpedo the skatepark?

The issue of construction costing more during Winter doesn’t make sense, especially if they want to hire Sahli.  Sahli built Lower Woodland over the exact same seasonal timeframe, and even though it took forever, there were very few overruns if any.  I’m not sure what “unintended site costs” he’s referring to, but he only needs to look at Seattle Parks’ last Sahli skatepark project to refute his own assertion.

More worrisome is the bigger budget concerns throughout the city.  The City Council and Mayor are in the midst of a painful budgeting process right now that’s producing some unsavory “solutions”, like laying off librarians and shutting down wading pools to pinch pennies.  Parks staff are already taking furlow days, and sources say that some Parks folks have already been notified of impending layoffs.  So I’m sure it’s irritating to someone who’s facing these difficulties on a daily basis to hear some skateboarders advocate for spending $70K on quality craftsmanship.  But delaying the project essentially leaves money lying around, increasing the risk to the project itself, and threatening a much larger investment of everyone’s time, community effort, and the future value of having a skatepark in a community that really needs it.  So in essence, to save $70K, Mr. Stoops is risking the entire budget of the project ($750K + volunteer time, effort, delays, etc…) by allowing it to linger around without a contractor for another 4-5 months.

In the bigger picture, can this project really suffer another delay?  My first post about this project was on June 5th, 2008.  Since then the funding has disappeared and reappeared once already.  So based on Mr. Stoops’ estimated timeline, this project will have taken over three years to complete, and this is in the most supportive community a Seattle skatepark has ever been introduced to.  I truly think the bigger picture is lost on people like Mr. Stoops and the people he reports to.  Sometimes they seem to lose sight of the impact they’re having on real people’s lives.  This isn’t just another project on a planning roadmap to the kids who live near the site and came to all the meetings.  This is something they go to sleep at night thinking about.   A kid that was in 9th grade when the first meeting happened will almost be graduating from high school when the park is finished.

That. Is. Broken.

The estimated date we got back for rescheduling, re-budgeting, and re-writing the qualifications is October 25th.  Watch this space for more details.

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