West Seattle Skaters: get ready for another wild ride…
After much consideration and a few site visits, Seattle Parks has decided to proceed with a design process for a skatepark at Delridge Playfield.
Last week, Skatepark Advisory Committee Chair Ryan Barth and I met Seattle Parks Staff at High Point playfield to discuss a skatepark at that site, following up on the feedback from neighbors at the Myrtle meetings who wanted the skatepark built there instead of in their neighborhood. Kevin Stoops showed me what I already knew would be the only spot we could put the park, which is not big enough for the $725K park that they want to build in West Seattle. The entire site is already packed pretty tight with heavily programmed sports fields, with the exception of the treed area in the SW corner. Skaters love trees too, and we don’t want to tear them out, so we were basically looking at the small space between the trees and the pathway. By my estimation, this space is barely big enough for a 2500 sq/ft skate spot. Nestling the skate spot into that hillside, because the grade is so steep (look at the tennis courts…) they would have to build a retaining wall around it which would block sight lines and be expensive to build.
In essence: the site is a bad choice for a skatepark. I am disappointed that it even made it into the Skatepark Plan.
So then the question was: which site on the CityWide Skatepark Plan would be able to accommodate West Seattle’s first proper skatepark?
The only site in the citywide skatepark plan I thought would work based on existing uses and available space is Delridge playfield, so we drove over there and checked it out. There’s plenty of room to set it back from the street and give the folks in the homes across the street a little buffer zone. There’s a community center, and a big open area that is not currently programmed. There is also a teen program at the community center whose director is very excited about the idea of a skatepark to program. The downsides are that the neighbors across the street will be upset, but that’s always the case. Also, there aren’t as many families living right around the site, and there aren’t as many bus lines running by Delridge. But because this was the only site in all of West Seattle that had a large un-programmed space in it, I recommended that Parks consider Delridge for the $725K skatepark, and put High Point on a list for a future skate dot or small skate spot.
They took the recommendation back to Superintendent Gallagher and it was approved by the executive staff. So, Seattle Parks is moving forward with the design process for the Delridge location, and will be pursuing funding for the construction during the next budget cycle. Finding a design consultant could take a month, at which point a series of public meetings will be scheduled to gather input. If everything goes as planned, West Seattle skateboarders could be skating in a new park by the end of 2009, but the key step that has yet to happen is finding the actual construction dollars to build the park.
Keep checking back for meeting dates and future opportunities for supporting this new West Seattle skatepark.