Seattle is one of the best places to skateboard in the country, as long as you are only riding between the months of June and September. None of our public skateparks are covered, which means they are essentially worthless for seven months out of the year when our rainy season comes.
That could change if the city follows a study released today, which identified a piece of land a few blocks east of the Space Needle as the best place to build a new skatepark, in part because it would be possible to put a covered roof over that land.
The study was commissioned by Seattle Center to look for a location to build a replacement park for the center’s existing skatepark, which is slated to be demolished this fall when remodeling work begins on the KeyArena. The study identified three different locations near the Seattle Center but ultimately recommended a strip of land between 5th Avenue North and Taylor Avenue North. That land was left mostly vacant after work started on the Highway 99 tunnel.
The study’s authors concluded that this site was the best option because it has space for a 10,000 square foot park with ample room to grow and was the “only site where a roof or a covering is likely to be feasible.”
Deborah Daoust, a spokesperson for Seattle Center, said this study was just one step in a longer process of finding a new home for the skatepark.
"They are doing their due diligence working on the preferred site, they are continuing to engage the skateboard community and their goal is to have a skatepark opened by 2020,” Daoust said.
Seattle Center’s existing skatepark, which has the god-awful name SeaSk8 (let’s hope the new park scraps this nauseating excuse of a word), was built in 2009 after an earlier Seattle Center skatepark was demolished for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s headquarters. Now that park, less than ten years after it was built, will soon be demolished as the city moves ahead with a $700-million plan to renovate the KeyArena.
The study estimated the replacement park would cost $1.852 million, not including the cost of any roof covering the park. The Oak View Group, a private company that is paying for the renovations of the KeyArena, pledged $1.5 million to pay for moving the SeaSk8 park.
"OVG is providing $1.5 million funding and that covers relocation of the skatepark in addition to relocation of some tenants onto property. The bulk of that is going to be the skatepark,” Daoust said.
Daoust said the city might need to pass additional legislation or allocate additional funding for the project, depending on how the land acquisition moves forward.