Archive for the “West Seattle” Category

This just in from Karen O’Conner and Seattle Parks:

Please join us for the upcoming meetings for the Roxhill Skatespot and Playground project funded by the Parks and Green Spaces Levy.

Parks is hosting a meeting for the skatespot schematic design on Wed. Oct 12,  and for the final design on Mon. Nov 14.

All meetings will start at 6 p.m. at Southwest Branch Library.

The SPAC saw an iteration of these designs and they were…err…a bit “early”.  The drip lines of the trees, which are all over the site, weren’t known to the designer until that day so the designs we saw were kind of useless.

Hopefully we see something less conceptual on the 12th.  SHOW UP!

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Early morning is the time to go to Delridge, if you can. There were only 3 other people there this weekday morning at 9am. Great for beginners and/or, ahem, folks like me who have been skating for almost 20 years but REALLY need to focus.

Grindline was there fixing  the sidewalk that was torn up from the construction. It’s gonna be nice. I appreciate a good sidewalk. Now that we have a great skate park, I think it’s important to 1. connect the parks  for pedestrians/skaters and 2. make it safer to get there.

Building a great public space (aka: skatepark) is not just about the skateable features within the concrete footage, but following it all the way through – improving the space around it to make it easily accessible for all and creating a strong infrastructure that will last for generations.

There is so much to learn and think about when it comes to living in the city. Being able to focus on skate parks has been a great lesson and now… maybe I can tackle the rest, as overwhelming as it can be.

I don’t know if I’ll ever be take action on all the challenges, but I do know that now I’ll be able to warm up on my way to the skate park on the next early morn.

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This is a reminder that at the next SPAC meeting (TONIGHT) the designers for the Roxhill (Grindline) and Judkins (California Skateparks) skatespots will be in attendance to receive additional focused feedback on the designs for these skatespots.

The SPAC requested that Parks host this additional design meeting so skaters can see the direction the designers are heading based on the input received during the first public meeting.   This is your best chance to provide focused early feedback directly to the design team in a room full of skaters.  PLEASE attend and provide your input so the design direction incorporates as much skater input early in the design process.

The meeting will be in the usual location – Seattle Parks and Recreation Building located at 100 Dexter North, Seattle, WA 98109 – from 6-8pm.

 

 

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NOTICE:  Grindline has been super cool to allow me to get in and take photos of the site, and will continue to let me post these updates as long as posting pictures doesn’t feel like it’s compromising the security of the unfinished skatepark.  Grindline is wholly responsible for securing the site until it’s open, and if it ever seems like these updates are making people think it’s OK to trespass, I will simply not be able to provide them anymore.  Also, the Southwest Precinct has been patrolling the site heavily, so don’t be a knucklehead.  The park will be open very soon.

The opening ceremony has been set for September 17th during the Delridge Days Festival.  Stay tuned for more details on what will be happening.

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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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This park is looking really fun.  I will have better pics next week.

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Screenshot from WSB's video coverage of the press conference.

Seattle Parks has scheduled the first public meeting for the Roxhill skatespot, and it seems, California Skateparks has successfully finagled their way into the Seattle skatepark system as the designer.

The meeting is on August 10th at 6pm, and is being held at the Southwest Library at 35th and Henderson.

So there you have it folks, all you need is a bunch of pre-fab crap and some canned designs “valued” at $50K and you too can be handed a public project in Seattle without any public process or input.

Unbelievable.

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As documented here previously, the SPAC has continued to express concerns to Seattle Parks that the donation made by the Dyrdek Foundation for Roxhill Skatepark, accepted by Mayor McGinn in a televised press conference:

1.  Should not be applied to a skatepark that was already fully funded (through the Parks for All Levy)

2.  That California Skateparks (the consultant that will be performing the free design for the Dyrdek Foundation) response to the Parks RFQ for design work at Roxhill was ranked last (several other designers also submitted responses) by a diverse design selection committee.

3.  California Skateparks does not have diverse experience with designing skateparks at non-linear sites with constraints (i.e., grove of trees)

4.  We fear that the Street League obstacles will attempt to get shoehorned into the design and may not work at this site or be what the skateboarding community wants

5.  That savings in design costs will not be applied back into the skatepark such that the community realizes any benefit from the donation.

We elevated this issue to the City Council and head a meeting with the Seattle Parks Superintendent and some of his staff earlier this week to further discuss these concerns and proposed a recommended path forward.  Below is a summary email we provided to the Superintendent following the meeting.  We will be talking with the City Council regarding the outcome of this meeting.

We will provide further updates as this issue progresses.  Have a good (dry) weekend and hope to see you out skating.

Superintendent Williams,

Thanks again for meeting with us yesterday.

We just wanted to send a quick note summarizing what we discussed, and re-state our take-away from the meeting in the spirit of complete transparency.

Summary of our discussion around the Dyrdek Foundation donation and the Roxhill skatepark project:

* Parks will be moving forward with accepting the donation for the Roxhill project.

* Parks is not concerned with the issue of subverting the process that allows for public input on the selection of the designer.

* The donation came with strings attached, one of them being that the project needed to be “shovel ready” which essentially forces Parks to apply it to a project that’s already funded and underway.

* The SPAC primarily recommends that the donation go to another site identified in the Citywide Skatepark Plan.  This would also realize the benefit of Grindline Skateparks (skatepark designer selected for the Judkins skatepark) proposed “two-for-one” donation of designs for both Roxhill and Judkins, which was precluded by the Dyrdek donation.  The SPAC understands that this would require additional discussions with the Dyrdek Foundation due to the initial terms of the donation being tied to a “shovel ready” project.  The SPAC offers any support necessary with these discussions.

* If the SPAC’s primary recommendation cannot be realized, and in order for the Dyrdek donation to support in any way Seattle skateboarders and the Roxhill Skatepark, the SPAC understands that Parks will preserve all existing funds in the $600K Parks and Green Spaces Levy project budget for use at the Roxhill Skatepark or another skatepark funded through the Levy.  The SPAC looks forward to discussing with Parks and California Skateparks how best to apply the donation savings to Seattle skateparks prior to initiation of the Roxhill Skatepark design process.

Thanks again for meeting with us, and please feel free to let us know if any of this is incorrect.  We’re open to input and expect the conversation to continue.

–  Seattle Parks and Recreation Skate Park Advisory Committee

 

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Today we received a response from Parks Superintendent Chris Williams regarding our request to reject the Dyrdek donation for Roxhill skatepark, which is fully funded and doesn’t need the donation.  As you can see, his response suggests very little reflection on the issues, and by his own admission, both paragraphs contain information we already knew:

June 27, 2011

Ryan Barth

Skate Park Advisory Committee

Dear Mr. Barth,

On behalf of Mayor McGinn as well as Seattle Parks and Recreation, thank you for your ongoing interest in the design of the Roxhill and Judkins skateparks and the donated services to be provided by California Skateparks.

As you know, the Rob Dyrdek Foundation has made a donation to the City of Seattle such that California Skateparks will design the Roxhill Skatepark and incorporate certain terrain features from the recent Street League event at Seattle Center at no cost to the City. The value of this donation is expected to be over $100,000. This donation is substantial and we believe it will be a positive contribution to the Roxhill project.

I understand that both Kelly Davidson and Kevin Stoops talked to you on June 23 to tell you that we intend to enter into a no-fee design contract with California Skateparks to provide for this work. As such, the consultant selection this week will only address the selection of a designer for the Judkins skatepark.

If you have any further questions on this, please contact Kelly Davidson at kelly.davidson@seattle.gov

Sincerely,

Christopher Williams

Acting Superintendent, Seattle Parks and Recreation

 

As I see it, here are the core issues with this decision:

Seattle Parks is locking out community input by skipping the process that allows for it, and therefore, disenfranchising the stakeholders.

By accepting this donation and granting a sole source design contract to California Skateparks, Seattle Parks is subverting the public process that provides an opportunity for the community input.  This process was already underway, and California Skateparks was ranked last by the panel.  I know this because I am a part of it.  What’s worse is that there are community members on the panel as well who feel like they are being forced to settle for less on this project in exchange for a donation that was not needed, as this project was already fully funded.  By awarding this sole source design contract, Seattle Parks is allowing a private entity to effectively bypass the process that is supposed to ensure quality results, unbiased awarding of city contracts, and encourage stewardship and engagement by the community.

Seattle Parks is applying this donation to a fully funded project that doesn’t need it, instead of directing it toward a project in another community that does.

This just seems like bad resource allocation.  There was absolutely no outreach from Parks to the SPAC on this project, so we have no idea why Roxhill was selected as a recipient for this donation, but it seems completely arbitrary.  Roxhill simply does not need the funding because it is fully funded by the Parks For All Levy funds that skateboarders lobbied hard for.  Meanwhile, there are 20 other sites designated by the Citywide Skatepark Plan that currently have no funding.  The Mayor and Seattle Parks have already been clear about any surplus funds going back into the general fund, which we understand is policy.  This park doesn’t need the donation, while 20 others do.
We respectfully ask:  why is Seattle Parks so adamant about applying the donation here in exchange for the lowest ranking designer in the pool of submissions, when other parks could literally live or die by these resources?
We’re not against a Dyrdek street plaza being built in Seattle.  We’re just against taking skatepark money we already fought for out of the budget for an existing project, when we could be building this thing in a community that actually doesn’t have a project underway.
We’re pursuing a follow-up with the City Council and local press to see if we can convince Parks to take another look at this.
Stay tuned.  Keep skating.

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Screenshot from the Dyrdek/McGinn press conference.

Today we sent a letter to Mayor Mike McGinn and Christopher Williams regarding their lack of outreach to the Seattle skate community before accepting the “donation” from the Dyrdek Foundation, and what we think is going to happen if they go through with it.

Enjoy:

To: Michael McGinn, Seattle Mayor

Christopher Williams, Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent

Sally Bagshaw and Richard Conlin, Seattle City Councilmembers

Cc: Kevin Stoops, Susan Golub, and Kelly Davidson, Seattle Parks and Recreation

Matthew Johnston and Scott Shinn, Seattle Parks and Recreation (Parks) Skate Park Advisory Committee (SPAC)

From:    Ryan Barth, Chairperson SPAC

RE:  Roxhill Skatepark – Donation Letter of Concern and Recommendations

Date: June 20, 2011

The SPAC is writing you today to express our concern with Parks continued progress to award California Skateparks a “sole source” design contract for the Roxhill Skatepark, as a result of the donation made by the Dyrdek Foundation.  The donation includes free skatepark design services by California Skateparks for the Roxhill Skatepark, which already includes a fully funded design and construction budget based on approval of the Parks For All Levy passed by Seattle voters.

The SPAC is very happy that the Parks Superintendent and Mayor have come out so strongly in favor of skateparks as a result of the Dyrdek Foundations donation offer in May 2011.  We also feel very fortunate that the Dyrdek Foundation recognized Seattle for being a leader in skatepark planning and funding, and wanted to contribute finances to help further our leadership.  However, we are disappointed that neither the Parks Superintendent nor the Mayor made any attempt to consult with the SPAC to evaluate the terms and affects of the donation, especially given the SPAC was the lead stakeholder group responsible for evaluating and lobbying for funding of this skatepark.  Although we have supported Parks on skatepark issues for eight years and are clearly the primary stakeholder and resource on these issues, we only learned that the Parks Superintendent and Mayor were going to accept the donation without these necessary consultations and evaluations one day in advance of the donation offer.  Had we been consulted, we would have shared with you several concerns based on our knowledge of skatepark issues in this region and nationally.  These important concerns are summarized below and identify why the accepted donation, without further evaluation, does not provide a benefit to Seattle or the skaters that will use this skatepark.  Our desire is to raise these concerns proactively to attempt to avoid an angry neighborhood and skateboarding community due to the design of a sub-par skatepark.

1. Seattle Parks has an established objective design selection process and this donation undermines that objective process.

The existing Seattle Parks skatepark design selection process includes a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for consultant services.  The RFQ summarizes the skatepark project location and schedule, the budget and scope of requested services, the requirements for consultant qualifications, the selection process, and the RFQ rating criteria. The RFQ states that the consultant responses will be evaluated by a Consultant Evaluation Committee that will likely include a cross section of individuals, including, but not limited to, City of Seattle staff, Parks staff, and community representatives.  The RFQ further states that these individuals will rank the consultant responses based on evaluation of the following five submittals:

  • Letter of interest showing the passion and creativity of the consultant
  • Summary of the project team demonstrating the consultant team has the necessary expertise
  • Summary of project examples showing the consultant team has the necessary experience
  • Description of consultants recommendations for the skatepark design at the identified location to show their team is creative and passionate about this project
  • A set of construction documents and specifications from a similar project to show the consultant  has the demonstrated ability to produce construction documents suitable for public bid

The unconditional approval of the Dyrdek Foundation design services donation does not allow the above established objective review and rating process to occur.  Therefore, Parks and Seattle skateboarders are unable to evaluate California Skateparks passion and creativity, expertise, experience, and demonstrated ability to produce construction documents suitable for public bid.  The SPAC spent considerable time and energy lobbying for identification and procurement of funding for this skatepark and find it unacceptable that a donation will eliminate our ability to ensure the best possible designer is chosen for this project.  For example, what leverage does Parks and/or the SPAC have to ensure California Skateparks is creative and passionate about making this the best possible skatepark since they are not getting paid for their services?  The SPAC urges Parks that this donation, and future similar donations for design services where funding is already procured, be evaluated using the above criteria and that the donation should only be accepted if the consultant exceeds a pre-defined rating threshold.

2. The savings resulting from the donated design services are not guaranteed to result in a better skatepark.

During the acceptance of the donation, the Mayor stated that an amount equal to the donation would be removed from the existing funding for the skatepark, and placed back into the Parks For All Levy general fund to support other projects.  If this is true, the SPAC is even more concerned that the donation was unconditionally accepted because Seattle is truly not receiving any benefit from the donation, which is unfair due to the substantial amount of work and lobbying completed by advocates, community members, and skateboarders, went into acquiring the existing funding for the project.  In addition, if true the Dyrdek Foundation would be very disappointed to learn that their donation did not result in additional skateable terrain or improvements to the already funded Roxhill Skatepark.  If the Mayors statement was misspoken and the design savings were maintained for this project, there is no means to identify how much of the savings would result in an improved skatepark because the savings would be directly linked to the construction bids (i.e., if the construction bids are above the engineers estimate for the design, the design savings would be used to cover the construction cost increase).

3. California Skateparks submitted a response to the Roxhill Skatepark RFQ and the objective Consultant Evaluation Committee rated them lowest

During the initial round of ratings by the Consultant Evaluation Committee appointed by Parks as a part of the selection process for the Roxhill Skatepark, California Skateparks was rated the lowest of all received consultants, with only one vote by any Committee member.  The Committee was composed of [Matt enter affiliations here to show wide range of folks].  The SPAC representative that participated in the Committee found that the California Skateparks submission lacked detail, site awareness, and inspiration.  These objective evaluations by a wide range of participants (skaters and non-skaters) clearly show that California Skateparks would not be selected as the designer for this skatepark in the absence of the donated services.  Therefore, acceptance of this donation results in the selection of a sub-standard design consultant and associated design.

4. In exchange for the donation we are relinquishing a considerable amount of control and input on what kind of skatepark goes into this site.

The Roxhill Skatepark requires a custom design due to the site’s unique restrictions.  The SPAC has researched California Skatepark designs throughout the country and feels that they are not a good fit for this unique site because they generally design skateparks with large, contiguous footprints and limited site constraints.  The Roxhill Skatepark site is dotted with mature trees, and therefore requires a non-contiguous design that incorporates these trees.  A California Skateparks street plaza in this site would require the removal of many if not all of these trees.  The SPAC does not support the removal of trees to build skateparks.  At this site, the SPAC advocates for other contemporary skatepark designers that have a documented portfolio that includes the integration of creative designs with existing trees.  California Skateparks does not design or build the kind of skatepark that will work best at this site.

5. It’s not clear that the skateboarders will realize any benefit from this donation.

The SPAC would like to emphasize that this skatepark project is fully funded so a donation is not necessary/warranted for this project unless there is a clearly identified benefit to be gained by the donation.  We are unable to identify sufficient benefits to outweigh the above identified concerns.  In exchange for accepting this donation on our behalf without consulting us first, we are being forced to select the lowest rated design consultant (by Parks own selection process), with an increased risk of building a sup-par skatepark for the site or the community that will be using it.

Again, the SPAC appreciates the supportive spirit behind the Mayor’s and Parks Superintendent acceptance of the donation.  However, we hope that the concerns raised above will lead to rejection of the donation and the selection of the best designer identified by the Parks appointed Consultant Selection Committee.

-Seattle Skatepark Advisory Committee

Feel free to post your comments here.

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