Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Skatepark proposed for Lake City Playfield

A proposal is in the works to bring a skatepark to the Lake City neighborhood.

Douglas Park Cooperative member and area resident Kevin Hilman —a skateboarder himself— has spearheaded a project to have a 'SkateSpot' built at the Lake City Playfield, now known as Virgil Flaim Park. Other neighbors are on board with the plan and after meetings and discussion among residents a conceptual drawing for the park has been created.

Lower-priced homes in our neighborhood are attracting more families to the area in recent years. The children and teens often have to travel outside of our neighborhood for activities and entertainment. One goal of the park would be to provide a place for youth to be active and have outdoor recreation in our own neighborhood.

"It gives youth and teens something to keep them from being bored or destructive," said Hilman

The nearest skateparks are at Dahl Playfield in the Wedgewood neighborhood and in Shoreline at Paramount Skatepark.

Residents that discussed the skatepark agreed that the largely underutilized park would be an ideal location. Use of a park is also known to discourage nuisance behaviors. The northeast corner of the park is sometimes a loitering spot for chronic inebriates when it is not being used for soccer games or other community activities. Part of the plan would be to discourage this behavior by having a regularly occupied and utilized park. "It would be the most continually used feature of that park," Hilman said.

The Lake City Comprehensive Plan, a fascinating neighborhood plan for our community written over a decade ago for goals from 1999 - 2014 requested a skatepark under Goal 11/ Strategy 3/ Action E.

Provide youth with lawful, constructive activities:
Develop a family-oriented skateboard park, modeled after the one in Ellensburg, with picnic benches, artwork and other public amenities, near the Civic Core.

The Citywide Skatepark Plan also has the Lake City Playfield, now known as Virgil Flaim Park, designated as a preferred candidate for a "SkateSpot," a skatepark that is fewer than 10,000 square feet.

The Citywide Skatepark Plan lists the cost for a SkateSpot at roughly $640k - a pretty steep price tag. However, there are funding sources such as grants for park improvements.

In April of 2011 Lake City Live reported about efforts to have a skatepark built in our neighborhood.

From that 2011 story:

A skatepark in some form has long been on the wish list for the neighborhood, so the project has strong support from various local businesses and community groups such as the Lake City Chamber of Commerce and the Lake City Development Council.  However, while the project has strong support, it needs more people to get to the next level.
What is currently needed is a core group of volunteers to drive the project forward. 
- designing, distributing flyers
- ongoing outreach to neighbors, local business, youth organizations
- grant writing
- exploring other fund raising opportunities 
If you live in NE Seattle, or know some skaters or skater parents that do, please let them know about this project, and encourage them show their support, or even better, to get involved. 

Above is a conceptual sketch of how a 10,000 square foot SkateSpot could potentially look in the Lake City Playfield. The drawing is for siting and for discussion purposes. The final design would possibly be different and public reviews would discuss the siting and features of the park. But wouldn't that owl look cool on Google Maps?

If you are interested in helping with this project, please contact Douglas Park Cooperative to find out how you can help.

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