Myrtle Reservoir meeting: Skatepark or no skatepark?


That’s “Design Concept B” for the park that will be built atop and around the newly covered Myrtle Reservoir (map). It has a spot saved at the northeast corner for a skatepark. Here’s “Design Concept A,” which doesn’t:


Though there are many design issues to decide, the potential skatepark was at the heart of most of the Myrtle Reservoir park discussion last night at High Point Community Center:

This was billed as the second of four community meetings to be held before the park is built. starting late this year or early next. We weren’t at the first one in March 2007, but by all accounts, including the notes posted online, the majority of park neighbors who attended that first meeting were there to voice strong opposition to the idea of a skatepark on the site.

But that was before any sort of design-concept options were prepared — and while some strong opposition was voiced again last night (as well as some strong support), seeing a more concrete proposal seemed to soften some of it.

As Parks Department project manager Virginia Hassinger explained toward the start of last night’s meeting, “We are at the juncture where we need to decide what goes into this park and what does not.” She acknowledged that neither she nor landscape architect Jim Yamaguchi from Nakano Associates was involved with the project when the first meeting happened last year, but reiterated that the new “design concepts” reflect some of the concerns and interests that the city heard back then.

Perhaps most notably, the potential skatepark is relatively small — more like what is known as a “skatespot” — about 10,000 square feet, which is less than a tenth of the size of the overall park plan. And even if it is drawn into the plan, one huge question hovers over it: Where would the money be found to build it? There’s no money in the Myrtle park budget (set before the city Skatepark Plan was finalized), which includes almost $700,000 for park construction; Hassinger’s guesstimate put the possible cost of a skatepark at half again as much as that, assuming it would cost around $35/square foot to build.

The whole genesis of the skatepark-at-Myrtle concept was questioned, and recapped, last night: a Morgan Junction community activist pointed out to the crowd (which numbered about 100) that the idea dates back to the meetings and discussions that led to the creation of the Morgan Junction Neighborhood Plan (linked here) a decade ago. Closer to the current time, West Seattle-based skatepark activist Matt Johnston (his website here) talked about the meetings and public input that went into the citywide Skatepark Plan released last year (the plan and the meetings that precede it are all linked from this city webpage) — “We took lots of objective factors into account,” he recalled, “such as not wanting to have something that’s too big for a neighborhood.”

As Hassinger reiterated, however, the citywide plan does not unequivocally state that Myrtle is a preferred spot for a skatepark; it suggests locating one at Myrtle Reservoir or near the High Point Community Center. However, as was noted several times, there is no new park development under way or proposed at the High Point site, while the Myrtle parcel is under development right now, because of the city project to cover the reservoir. (“This is a water facility first, a park second,” Hassinger reminded the crowd.)

Meeting attendees included more than half a dozen kids and teens, there to support the skatepark concept. One wondered if they could help raise the money it would take to build — “Is there a place online that we can donate?” he asked — another recalled trying to find someplace in his old neighborhood to skateboard, and talking with friends about “how we wished there was a skatepark closer to us.” And some had parents there to support them, including a woman who declared, “I’m a skateboard mom. The kids who are going to use it are here. They’re good kids.”

The current dearth of skateboarding facilities around the city was brought up frequently by supporters; one pointed out that while it’s seldom hard to find a nearby park with play equipment for little kids, a place for tweens and teens to engage in “healthy recreation” is almost impossible to find: “Why do we continue this disparity?”

Another comment: “I have a four-year-old son, and I don’t know if he’s going to grow up to be a skateboarder, but I want to know, when are we going to start building places so kids can have a healthy lifestyle?”

Skateboarders aren’t just kids, Johnston and others reminded the crowd, including a man who, like several others, took exception to concerns that a skatepark could attract criminal activity: “I’ve never been arrested,” he said plaintively. “I’m a civil engineer!” Another man observed, “We have three generations of people skateboarding now.”

But opponents had emotional pleas as well. One man recounted working for six years to build a memorial to fallen law-enforcement officers, and then, he said: “Skateboarders destroyed it two months ago.” (Asked how he knew the vandals were skateboarders, he said they were caught on video surveillance.)

Several people expressed concern about a skatepark turning open space into pavement (as shown above, the design concept without a skatepark proposes a “rain garden” for that same corner). One man noted that siting it in the space on Design Concept B would lead to the removal of five trees; Hassinger said it might be possible to work around them. A woman said, “I’m here to speak for the earth. I don’t want to see more concrete poured on one of the last green spaces.”

Another area of concern involved the location at the 35th/Willow corner of the park, where there is no crosswalk bridging 35th (the nearest one is at Myrtle, on the opposite side of the park). “35th is one of the most dangerous streets I’ve ever lived on,” one woman said.

As the comment period of the two-hour meeting wound down, it seemed some minds might have been changed. One neighbor said, “I wasn’t excited about a regional (skateboarding) facility here, but seeing this [smaller] design, sometimes you have to take one for the team. The kids need a place to go.”

The decision rests with the Parks Department, but “skatepark or no skatepark” is far from the only decision to be made. Other key park points that emerged last night — before, during, and after the skatepark debate — this will be a neighborhood park, so it’s not currently slated for its own parking area, or for restrooms, although it was acknowledged that the latter could be put into the plan, for a price. In addition — again, because this is a “water facility” first — some features of the site are non-negotiable, such as reservoir-related buildings that will be ringed with a 12-foot black-chain-link security fence. In case you’re wondering, the fill atop the rectangular reservoir will be two feet thick; the playfield planned for that section of the park can only be “informal” because water-quality issues prohibit the type of fertilization the city says is required to create and maintain it as an official sports field. And there was considerable talk last night about what kind of “theme” the park will have: Designer Yamaguchi suggested features would honor its status as the highest point in Seattle, perhaps with information regarding what can be seen from its view; a meeting attendee also proposed including information about the city’s water supply and where it comes from.

What’s next? According to Hassinger, the city work on the reservoir is a little behind schedule, but should be done within a few months. Then, she says, the site will be seeded, and is likely to be reopened to public access by summer. Meanwhile, design, planning, and development of the park will proceed — first step, collecting the comments from last night’s meeting and additional comments sent to the Parks Department in the weeks to come, and creating a “project schematic design.” That will be presented at another public meeting, likely in March (specific date not yet set); then after more discussions including a presentation to the Seattle Design Commission, the “approved design development” would be shown at a final public meeting later in the year, and construction could start in the fall.

If you have something to say about the Myrtle Reservoir park — what you want to see and/or what you don’t — now is the time to say it. Send your comments to project manager Virginia Hassinger here:
Postal mail: 800 Maynard Ave. S., 3rd Floor; Seattle, WA 98134

Her contact information, and project information, can also be found at this city webpage, including eventually the drawings shown last night. In the meantime, since Hassinger was kind enough to forward them to us as PDFs just before the meeting, we have uploaded them here too:
Design Concept A
Design Concept B
Site Conditions
Design Issues

91 Replies to "Myrtle Reservoir meeting: Skatepark or no skatepark?"

  • VB January 23, 2008 (8:05 am)

    A skate park sounds great, provided there are funds for a 24-hour security guard attached. Otherwise, I’ve found true the typical refrain that a skate park quickly degenerates into a “den of iniquity.”

    The rain garden sounds great, much more pedestrian friendly, which is what WS needs!

  • coffee geek January 23, 2008 (8:32 am)

    I’ve thrashed my “too old-to-skate” 32 year old body at a few skateparks around the area. Are there unsavory characters abound? Sure there are. Just like at the malls, ski/board hills, downtown, etc… Skateboarders are a cross-section of society, and unfortunately that does include some vandals and criminals. To deny our area a safe place to engage in a healthy and popular activity is asinine. There are so many more “good apples” than bad on skateboards out there. To turn down a safe and healthy place for skaters to be would be very sad. And yes, I live within 3 blocks of the proposed skatepark.

  • Aidan Hadley January 23, 2008 (8:54 am)

    “I’m here to speak for the earth!” I love it.

  • m January 23, 2008 (9:00 am)

    I attended the meeting last night and it seemed the most aggitated of the group was a typical represenation of Seattle NIMBYs, worried only about their quality of life and property value and not looking out for the community as a whole. I live a block away and support the skatepark- I don’t know the impact this will have on the neighborhood (no one can accurately predict the future), but all we were discussing is whether to plan space for the skate spot. If we don’t plan for this now, I’m afraid this will never become a reality for the kids that attended, or even their children.

    There seems to be no funding for the Master Skate Plan, but if it magically appears, I’m hoping most of the planned skate parks are built so the kids have somewhere to go and make friends and be active. If all the skate parks are built, it would alleviate the concerns of Myrtle becoming a major destination for the whole city. It would remain more of a neighorhood park for locals to walk to. It’s important to support the skate plan and make sure it becomes a reality for every part of this city.

    I think Parks put on a great presentation, and I appreciate they even ask for community input.

  • Aim January 23, 2008 (9:24 am)

    m – I agree.
    Currently kids are skating in the streets and parking lots as they have nowhere else to skate. A well-planned, well-designed skate park would be a welcome addition.

    I used to live in Redmond way back when. There was a skate park next to the Park n Ride. There were kids there at all hours skating. It was not some “den of iniquity” where illegal activity took place. There was no security guard. Most of our kids are good citizens, and just need a place to hang out. Just liek adults, the few jerks spoil it for the rest, but it doesn’t mean we should punish the majority who are just looking to hang out with their friends.

  • JT January 23, 2008 (9:45 am)

    My kids are grown and gone now, but I would have loved to have seen a skatepark this close to home. I don’t think the NIMBY’s understand that there is nothing better or worse about skateboarders. They’re just kids needing something to do. I plan on watching them, if they do build it, for my own entertainment. If we try to ban every item or activity that has ever been associated with an unwanted behavior, what exactly would be left? And for those worried about noise, I’m not sure what could be louder than the traffic and sirens already on 35th.

  • Jerald January 23, 2008 (10:25 am)

    Teenagers are not inherently evil! I’ve learned this, having several of my own right now. They do seek activity and places to socialize, but that’s normal. None of mine have been skateboarders, but I would have been delighted if they had. I often stop and watch the kids (and adults) at the skate park in Burien. I wish I had the ability.

    I did observe trouble occurring at the Ballard skate park recently — a fight among the crowd of transients filling the benches on the other side of the park. The skateboarders were ignoring them and going about their business (fun) quietly.

  • sir jorge January 23, 2008 (10:49 am)

    that’s so far from the downtown area skatepark that i was dreaming of when i first moved here.

  • mark January 23, 2008 (10:55 am)

    M – I agree as well. I too was at the meeting last night, and was disappointed to see how much of a complaint session it turned into – in True-Seattle fashion.

    Studies show that the single most important factor determining the success of parks is, in fact, more people and a greater diversity of people. I’m not sure if there are enough middle aged white-guys concerned about their property value in the neighborhood to actually create a functioning park-users contingent. Without activity in any park, it becomes a refuge for undesireble activities – not the other way around.

    As I rode by the site this morning on the bus, i envisioned the active skate park – visible from 35th – and appreciated the siting of the ammentity on thesite while also maintaining views from the top of the hill. I think Yamaguchi’s intitial concept plans are very appropriate for this reclaimed site.

  • RVG January 23, 2008 (11:07 am)

    Great article and read. This seems like a classic debate, I tend to lean towards utilization of the park, and think that a skatepark gets more bang for its buck when you think about the use and who benefits the most. I hope the skatepark get passed!

  • Brian January 23, 2008 (11:34 am)

    Skate parks are what baseball fields used to be in the 50’s and 60’s. I think a lot of the older residents just don’t understand what’s going on. Ignorance = fear

  • BGH January 23, 2008 (11:46 am)

    I agree, the anti people are just ignorant. I would rather know where the kids are than not know where they are. Think beyond youself for a change.

  • Duryea January 23, 2008 (12:19 pm)

    More skate parks. VB doesn’t know what s/he is talking about. Kids with stuff to do are better off than kids who are bored…

    Public parks and public bathrooms are attractive for prostitution, drug dealing and public sex. Should we ban them for the “safety” or the rest of the community? I thought not.

  • NaSw January 23, 2008 (12:20 pm)

    At last night’s meeting about the Myrtle Reservoir project, there was a very organized, calculated attempt to appropriate an area already earmarked for green space by bringing attention to a constituency of enthusiastic middle aged skateboarders who use the sport of skateboarding as way to gain attention and experience in the political process by lobbying and making a career out of skateboard advocacy. Is this really about the kids? (Hardly, but that’s another discussion). Should we sacrifice precious green space in our rapidly developing city (and environmentally challenged world) to please a minority of park users? The fact is a white, middle class skater (which makes up the overwhelming majority of the demographic of skate park users) will also be able to make use of green space, but, for example, a person outside of that demographic will not be able to (or not be inclined to) make use of a skate park. It’s really of little use to those of us who simply crave green space after being around concrete all day. And by the way, don’t even think of trying to put two wheels on that fine cement…bikes are discouraged or banned at skate parks), Furthermore, for those residents who do not have the privilege of obtaining tranquil views with access to green space, this park could be the nearest public destination for them to have that. Let’s preserve this space as an earth friendly, green space for ALL to enjoy by designating the entire area to an earth friendly design with minimal built structures and paving by adding (not removing!) trees and other features that encourage stewardship, sustainability and wildlife (be it ever so humble in the urban environment). Built structures and playfields are already established across the street from this site, and although High Point play area/Community Center area was on the table as a place to implement a small skate feature, the small minority of skateboarders is targeting Myrtle Reservoir because they feel they can put a larger (!) chunk of cement (at least 10-12,000 sq. ft. is what they are fighting for…the average size of TWO city lots!…) there, even though Myrtle is a smaller area than High Point play area Put the skate parks in areas where the green space has already given way to cement (go find another Ballard Bowl to save, or how about a skate park on a pier? there are many creative ways to site a location that won’t swallow up potential green space). Since it rains in Seattle all but what, three months out of the year, why not make an INDOOR skate facility somewhere in West Seattle (hello, Bellevue?) Because most of time you’ll be looking at two city lots full of WET PAVEMENT (with little ground or green for the water to run off into) and that’s no fun for anyone. If you’re not sure what 10,000 sq. ft. of cement looks like google the Burien Community Center skate park (it’s actually even smaller than what’s proposed for Myrtle) Let’s not create MORE paved outdoor spaces when we have the opportunity to make this area a green respite in a growing city full of concrete. We have the opportunity to create a verdant green space in one of the most unique viewpoints in Seattle…let’s not mess this up! Keep the original spirit of the Parks Levy alive by adding more green space, less cement. The only way a skate element at this site should be considered is if it can be fully integrated into the landscape…at most perhaps what is defined as a ‘skate dot’. Other park features can be added without damaging the environment. Non-permanent play structures (so that when demographics change, park features can be easily adjusted), benches and tables without cement footprints, pathways that are not paved and plants! No one (not even the designer!) discussed how plantings would be used to define the space. Species garden? Pea patch? etc. A skate park does not in any way support earth stewardship…explain that to the kids. A skate park is short-term gratification, not an earth friendly legacy. We have very few opportunities in our growing, developing city to ADD GREENSPACE. If you take a close look at the proposed park plan, The majority of the park space is fixed built structures paved walkways, and driveway, fences and to that they want to add another 10,000sq ft of cement! And don’t let the skate park advocates guilt you into thinking no skate park means our kids will become bored, obese and deprived of outlets for fun and adventure. It just isn’t so. A large greenspace will accommodate many fun activities AND does not require environmentally sterile cement layers to do so!

  • Sage January 23, 2008 (12:47 pm)

    I have never skated and have no interest in skating, but I think the siting and size of the skatepark design is an excellent compromise. I came to the meeting ready to oppose a skatepark, but I was convinced that this is a great way to serve diverse types of park users. It also seems there’s a good way to heal the neighborhood split on this issue: since the skatepark requires lots of money and the park design seems to have a quite constricted budget, why not do some joint fundraising, where every dollar raised is split 50/50 or somesuch between general park improvements and skatepark-specific funds. That way we could use the diversity of potential users as a source of strength even in the design of the park from the beginning. Any takers?

  • Pete January 23, 2008 (12:52 pm)

    OK folks let us be realistic here for just a minute. Ho wmany of you have read about the problems that have occured at Westcrest park? And there is not even a skate park there only a very nieghborhood friendly dog run….so are you saying all of the problems are attibutable to folks that frequent skateparks….I think SPD folks might have a good case to dispute your contention. If we give the skate boarders a place to go this will go a long way to solve some other problems I think.

  • BGH January 23, 2008 (1:15 pm)

    Of course NaSw must live near the park and is only thinking of self.

  • seaweedtoasted January 23, 2008 (1:24 pm)

    We have such an amazing opportunity to create a unique and progressive park. Get inspired. Educate the community about where our water comes from. Keep it green. And build a beautiful skate spot- with a wide loop to walk around or skate around.
    I am going to try and find a fiscal sponsor, so we can raise money for skateable stuff in West Seattle.

  • Diana January 23, 2008 (1:34 pm)

    Pro the Park! Kids need to be outside. They need to play and exhale and shout and yell and challenge each other. They need to be physically tired. They need to PLAY. And there are not enough opportunites for them to do this. The teens in my ‘hood skateboard in the alley and on side streets. They have no where else to go. Dogs bark, drivers swerve, homeowners swear. When kids are trapped with no physical outlet, and no opportunity to be OUTSIDE, they turn to other things. Let them play…or consider the price later…

  • KR January 23, 2008 (1:43 pm)

    I live next to the Myrtle Reservoir and was at the last two planning meetings. I think the park designs are well thought out and the space will be an amazing addition to the neighborhood. Here’s my two cents on the skate park… kids and teens spend way too much time in our society indoors watching TV, playing video games and surfing the internet. This, among other things, is causing our children to have increased behavior problems, lower self esteem and issues with obesity to name a few. I believe our community needs to promote outdoor play among all ages young and old. We need to make sure our open spaces and parks encourage people to explore and play outside safely. We need elements to make sure everyone feels welcome. Skate park, playground, walking paths, grass, benches—bring it on!….let’s get outside, take a deep breath and be thankful that we live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and that our city is building a NEW park in our neighborhood. How cool is that?!!

  • BGH January 23, 2008 (1:44 pm)

    AMEN to that. Build the skate park.

  • Teresa P January 23, 2008 (1:58 pm)

    Build the park dudes!

    And the parents of the kids who use this park should do “drop ins” to make sure there are no riff raff hanging out. Like our parents used to do.

  • Matt Johnston January 23, 2008 (2:04 pm)

    Thanks to WSB for writing up such a thorough re-cap of the meeting!

    I’m looking forward to an aesthetically pleasing skate facility that’s reasonably sized, incorporates green space, and is surrounded by a community that makes the neighborhood skaters feel welcome and appreciated.

    We’ve got some work to do, especially on that last one, but last night’s meeting renewed my faith in my community’s ability to come together over issues and do the right thing.

    Cheers West Seattle!


  • old timer January 23, 2008 (2:25 pm)

    OMG –
    the druggies, and the muggers, and the wretched refuse of the great unwashed!
    Let’s shut down METRO.
    Those busses are hotbeds for the lowest of the lowlives.
    Thugs, and shooters, rapists, and vomiters,

    While we’re at it, let’s shut down ALL of those mini-marts.
    They draw thieves.
    And BANKS!
    Let’s shut down the BANKS -all that surveillance video on the TV news PROVES what a sh.t magnet banks are. They are ALWAYS getting robbed.
    No person of taste and refiinement would go anywhere near a bank.
    Only meth addicts looking for cash go to banks and mini-marts.
    Banks and mini-marts are a threat to community livability!
    Shut ’em down, rip ’em out.

    Let’s lock up the whole world so no one can have anything remotely resembling a life.

    Finally, let’s be sure to tell our kids how rotten and useless they are as we hand them the leaky mess we’ve made of their world.

    Yeah, it’s THEIR world.
    With any kind of luck, we’ll die before them.

  • CMP January 23, 2008 (2:35 pm)

    If you’re going to write a long comment, could you please make use of those wonderful things called paragraphs? If people want some green space, head to Lincoln Park, there’s plenty of it there and beautiful views to boot. I’m sure no one complains about Colman Pool being located at Lincoln so don’t whine about a little skate park that might be built in a convenient location for all of West Seattle.

  • Todd in Westwood January 23, 2008 (3:57 pm)

    Hmm more open green space, sounds like another “off leash area” for West Seattle residents.

  • grr January 23, 2008 (4:12 pm)

    seems to me like there’s all the greespace any around here needs between Schmitz and Lincoln parks. Build the skate park..but put reasonable Hours of Usage on it, as to not piss off the neighbors with noise in the middle of the night. The plan looks great to me.

  • Loree January 23, 2008 (4:20 pm)

    I live a block from the Myrtle Reservoir, I don’t skate, I don’t have kids, I don’t even like kids, and yet I’d be thrilled to see a skate park built in my neighborhood. Kids need to play outside, and they need safe, well-maintained places to do it. If they’ve got age-appropriate public facilities to take advantage of, they’re less likely to be tagging my fence (has happened), vandalizing my car (that too), breaking into my garage (twice now), or smashing beer bottles on the sidewalk (have I mentioned how much I loooooove living beside a bus stop?).
    As far as I am aware, the nearest skate park to West Seattle is an ad-hoc construction at East Marginal and Hanford, underneath the Alaskan Way viaduct. From what I’ve seen while driving by, that is not a safe place — scavenged concrete blocks, bare rebar, constant truck and train and commuter traffic… I’d much rather have the kids (and their parents) stay in the neighborhood, frankly.
    And on the environmental concerns — look, I want to save the planet too, but you’ve got to strike a balance between greenspace and neighborhood habitability. It’s not like they’re proposing to pave over the entire block, folks. Just one small section of it, so the whole family can have a place to play.
    And honestly, kids and teens are much more likely to be causing trouble out-of-sight in the alley behind the convenience store at Morgan than they are in a residential neighborhood park, overlooked by multiple houses, on a busy thoroughfare, with police cars frequently passing by.
    Now you whippersnappers get off my lawn! :)

  • Melody January 23, 2008 (4:27 pm)

    I also attended the meeting last night. Thank you to the parks department for two beautiful designs. Design B of course was the best in being that it captured something for everyone. The skate park is a fabulous idea. Our children need some where to skate that is safe and in a community area. Shame Shame on you adults that had nothing but negative things to say about our youth. For those of you more accepting, open minded people who are in favor of a skate park and would like to voice your opinion where it will make a difference as far as the site being marked for a skate park please send you comments to and click on the project contact person being Virgina Hassenger under “The more information” header. The only way this will get built is with strong input from us that want to see this built. So tell everyone you know to contact virgina and attend these meetings to make your voice heard for a skate park. GO SKATERS!!!!!

  • BB January 23, 2008 (4:42 pm)

    I can’t believe the amount of anger the idea of a skate element creates. We are still dealing with hysterical neighbors that see cement forms being built at our park and start sending off angry emails about a “the skate park” to anyone who will listen (even though the skate element was killed long ago). I don’t skate nor do I have children but I agree with previous posts citing ignorance creating all this fear/anger.

  • mark January 23, 2008 (4:44 pm)

    I’m an architect here in Seattle and would be very interested in providing some pro-bono design time for investigating a skate park solution that was less intrusive than the $640,000 option that was mentioned at last night’s meeting. Surely there are ways to build a non-concrete structure that would 1) allow rain water penetration into the groud beneath 2) be durable enough hold up to the rigor of the sport of skating 3) be modifiable over time (and perhaps taken down if in-fact the venture proves to detract from the park) and 4)cost significantly less than $640,000.

    If there’s any interest, please post your contact info.


  • acemotel January 23, 2008 (4:54 pm)

    All you folks who approve of the skate park: it’s very nice to have a venue to express yourselves, but please go to the parks meetings and make your thoughts and feelings heard! Or write a letter to the parks dept. Same goes for the other side too, although it sounds like they dominated the meeting last night.

    I love this blog, don’t get me wrong. But your words might actually have an effect if you direct them to the people who make decisions. It never ceases to amaze me how people will verbalize in a blog when their ideas could actually make a difference if they were known by the design team.

  • acemotel January 23, 2008 (4:55 pm)

    what’s the code for paragraph, by the way?

  • NaSw January 23, 2008 (5:32 pm)

    Tag team responses from the same group of supporters who are in the minority do not change the fact that a skate park at Myrtle Reservoir would not equitably serve the general population of the community around it, only a small(albeit vocal) minority, and despite the many responses to WSB,I have yet to hear how skate parks support the Pro Parks Levy mission of environmental stewardship. Although I can’t say I live next to the proposed park, I do live within walking distance, and walk by this area regularly. I am looking forward to having a nice green buffer from the growing traffic on 35th. I can’t see how a 10.0000 sq. ft. cement bowl on a highly visible corner will be an uplifting experience for the general population, including the people who cross the street from the “other” High Point, who come to enjoy the view. They would also benefit from a calm greenspace away from the bustle and density of the new residential area and the playgrounds at the HP Community Center. Is there a need to have two playgrounds with many built structures within such close proximity? I think not. Although,I suspect some parents may have issues with their kids playing at the “other” High Point,and therefore prefer the Myrtle site for a playground/skate park.

    It was indicated on plan B that mature trees would be removed in order to accomodate the skate park. How can city organizers justify that in light of the original mission of the parks levy?

    And will anyone address the issue that there are bound to be turf wars between kids on bikes and the skaters who don’t want two wheels on ‘their’ rink.

    A greenspace can accomodate everyone’s recreational needs without a ton of cement. A skate park while providing a recreational outlet for a small socioeconomic minority of advocates, does so at the expense of others and at the expense of the environment. The skaters who turned up at the meeting (many of whom don’t live in West Seattle) are a vocal special interest group attempting to appropriate what was originally greenspace (up until construction began) for a large skate park site (not to be cofused with a smaller, more integrated ‘skatedot’ which is more environmentally friendly), instead of lobbying for a site that is not earmarked for greenspace. There was no discussion or explanation (nor any public outreach) about why (or even if) the proposed High Point site was dropped from consideration, despite strong support at earlier public meetings.

  • NaSw January 23, 2008 (5:45 pm)

    Mark, that would be a great idea in theory, but I’m sure something that creative would require VERY expensive materials (although I’m aware the material exists). If the skate park was earth friendly AND not fixed (so that when/if neighborhood demographics/opinions change the skate park could be removed, if necessary…(that goes ditto for other play equipment, benches, etc.) then it would be somewhat more equitable of a proposition to add a skateboard site. But I’m not holding my breath on that. It would take a lot of creativity and a lot of money. I haven’t seen any evidence of that from either the parks department or the skate lobbyists.

  • acemotel January 23, 2008 (5:46 pm)

    >>attempting to appropriate what was originally greenspace

    One of the original proposals for the space, as I recall, was a very large regional skate facility.

  • Jo January 23, 2008 (5:55 pm)

    Never fear skateboarders. You’ll have a beautiful skateboard park if the new fancy plaza at the Alki Statue of Liberty gets built as designed. You can just whiz right down the slope, then up the smooth, slanted sides of the new pedestal and immediately jump right onto the curved skateboard ramps, whoops, I mean curved, concrete benches.

    Hope you do get your park, though.

  • BGH January 23, 2008 (6:27 pm)

    Again it just shows how ignorant and selfish NaSw you are. A kids playground serves only a percent of the people, the rain garden only serves a percent of the people, the play field serves only a percent of the people as well as the skate park will only serve a percent of the people but together it will SERVE EVERYONE. PERIOD. Quit being selfish. Build the skate park. I will never use it but my daughter might someday when she learns how to skate.

  • charla January 23, 2008 (6:33 pm)

    I am pro skate park and I am, um, “older”.

    I agree that folks should express their opinions at the meetings. However, I also hope the city parents are modern enough that they read neighborhood blogs and even use google from time to time to see what people think. (wsb–do we have reason to know that the mayor, for example, reads, if not writes?)

    Anyway, stop the war on kids and build the skate park. Revised design is fine. “No because it attracts THEM is not.”

  • BGH January 23, 2008 (6:44 pm)

    If anyone diagrees with what I said about each part of the park serves only a percent of the people but together serves everyone then ask yourself this. Does a three year old or a skate boarder care about the rain garden? Does a dad and son playing catch in the play field care about the childrens play area? Does the elderly couple care about the skate park? No to each. But all together it serves everyone. Lets bring the community together and let the park with the skate area be built.

  • Matt Johnston January 23, 2008 (6:45 pm)

    I don’t really think this is the best forum for discussion, in fact I smell a troll, but I feel compelled to provide a different perspective on some of the opinions in “NaSw’s” posts:

    The vast conspiracy to appropriate green spaces and pave them over with skateparks does not exist. We are simply advocating for a fair share of our public space for skateboarding activity. The skateboarding user group is large enough to make the lack of access to facilities a social justice issue.

    This false dichotomy also suggests that skateboarders can’t be green space advocates or vice versa. In fact, there are many skateboarders who greatly appreciate the need for more green space, and I am one of them. What we are asking for is a reasonable solution that serves many needs, including the skateboarders. To suggest otherwise would be disingenuous and seems like a transparently divisive tactic.

    You seem to be asking skaters to justify the need for public skateboarding space, which we have already done with petitions, and the study that was part of the City-Wide Skatepark plan process. I think it’s high time for anti-skatepark advocates to start proving that there isn’t a need, that these facilities are bad for the environment, and all of the other unsupported claims that are regularly tossed about with nary a reference or associated fact. The City Council unanimously adopted the skatepark plan last year, and all had nothing but positive things to say about the need for more skateparks. We’ve done out homework, so now the shoe is on the other foot. It seems to be that the burden of proof is now on the side of the skatepark haters.

    The valuation of the uses of public space that one person feels are important, over how skateboarders would like to use our share of the public space, suggests elitism. Who is to say that my choice of recreation is better or worse than yours? The skaters (and non-skaters) are simply asking for an equitable and reasonable solution, while many seem to be advocating for a total shut-out of skateboarding facilities. It’s difficult to take seriously any view that does not take into account some form of compromise as a possible solution. This is not an all-or-nothing system we are working within.

    There are no “turf wars” between bikers and skateboarders in the existing Seattle skatepark, and there is no reason to assume that would happen here or anywhere else. In fact, skatepark activities are incredibly self-regulated.

    Your attempts to paint skateboarders as a “minority” are misleading at best. Regardless of the actual numbers of skateboarders in West Seattle, the Parks Department does not decide on public facility development based on ratio of users to non-users. Using that methodology every user group would be a minority. Instead we have collected signatures to show that West Seattle residents do support skateparks to demonstrate a representative need.

    Most of the skateboarders at the meeting last night do live in West Seattle, but meeting attendance does not, in itself, indicate interest or support. Most skaters are between 12-18, and do not come to meetings for a multitude of good reasons.

    The picture you paint, of this highly organized group of a “career” special interest group is frankly, insulting. No ordinary citizen should have to work so hard against ignorance and completely unfounded claims simply to have a place to recreate. The only reason the advocates involved have been so active in this game for the last 5 years is that we can’t sit idly by while people active try to shut an entire generation of teenagers out of public spaces. It’s not right and we intend to make it so.

  • BB January 23, 2008 (6:46 pm)

    acemotel… Thanks for pointing out that people need to get involved. One of the most frustrating things I have found in these volunteer based public projects are all the: demands, complaints, suggestions, etc. that come pouring in after the fact. Although WSB is a fantastic outlet for discussion (and it should be encouraged), you HAVE to get your opinion accross directly to those involved in the project. Also, please have an open mind and be civil at the meetings (regardless what side you are on). Remember, the people organizing these efforts are volunteers and are just trying to do something positive for the neighborhood.

  • BGH January 23, 2008 (6:48 pm)


  • GenHillOne January 23, 2008 (7:03 pm)

    For the record, not a career activist, not tag teaming, not a skater, not a parent of a skater, not able to attend the meeting, BUT…do have a teenager, do like the design, do think skaters are getting a bad rap, and I DID write to the Parks Department in favor of the skatespot. :)

  • CMP January 23, 2008 (7:27 pm)

    For the people that want some green space, go to the mountains…it’s pristine out there. Or better yet, use your own backyard. I certainly wouldn’t sit next to a water garden that’s located right next to 35th…that’s hardly relaxing or enjoyable in my opinion. That area is much better suited for a skate park and play field, where neighbors can interact more with one another. And it’s nice to see so much support for a more diverse use of this space. I’ll be contacting the city in favor of Design Concept B!

  • Kayleigh January 23, 2008 (7:28 pm)

    I don’t particularly care either way, but I think the idea that a skateboard park “serves everyone” is nonsense.

    If I wanted Bruce Springsteen and Eddie Vedder music (my faves) piped into the park continuously, could I claim that it “serves everyone” just because *I* like it?

    Advocate for what you want, but don’t pretend it’s for the good of mankind when it will serve a (relatively small) handful of people.

  • BGH January 23, 2008 (7:40 pm)

    Look Kayleigh, I am a 43 year old father of a 5 year old and the husband of a 42 year old soccer playing wife and I understand the importance of a skate park. Ya so what if it serves only a small percent. So does a wheel chair ramp, does that mean we don’t build it. Come on people.

  • BGH January 23, 2008 (7:50 pm)

    You also missed the point KayLeigh, I don’t think one person believes the skate park will serve everyone. It will serve only a small percent of the people but the point is many things in a park serve only a small percent. Its the park as a WHOLE that serves everyone.

  • RS January 23, 2008 (10:02 pm)

    Skate park rules! Matt Johnson’s rational and level-headed response to NaSw rules! WSB as prequel to well-attended community meetings where people express their ideas publicly… rules! Labeling pro-skate park peeps as “special interest” group… weak.

  • Screamer January 23, 2008 (10:03 pm)

    You Go Matt!!! People scroll up to Melody’s comments she has already included the link to sent comments to the Parks Department. Mark the budget for the park development is approximately $673,000.00 as stated at the meeting this does not include the skate spot. There is no fuding for the skate spot at this time. This is only an opportunity to site it and hopefully fund it in the near future.

  • chas redmond January 23, 2008 (10:17 pm)

    – If 50 comments is any guide, it looks like “include the skate park” in the Myrtle Reservoir Park design is running about 45 to “no skate park’s” 5, that’s about 90 percent pro. I do hope everyone has written their comments to Virginia Hassinger, because she’s the project manager and the one who is integrating community issues and priorities. And, yes, I’m sure she reads the WSB, but it’s YOUR indication to the city directly which counts the most. Not their read of your intentions.

    – Actually, a better method is attending the meetings in person, because, then, you have your own direct and verifiable record of what has been going down. You also get to meet your neighbors, even the ones you disagree with. One can disagree and remain civil – and even friends. And, the larger the group, the more it actually represents “all” of us.

    – Having been to quite a few (both city parks and skate parks) meetings I can say that we’ve come a long way in the past year and a half. We were much less civil several meetings ago and positions and concerns were less known to each other. Valid concerns need to be addressed – I totally agree. But issues of disparity need to be addressed sooner. We are being pro-active in the development of a huge chunk of our youth – that should be our priority. Finally, we are including everyone in the family in the same park, and families of differently-aged kids. What a fun place that could be!

    – I thought Design B was quite impressive as a neighborhood gathering spot, frankly. And, it’ll be just downhill from a new sculpture in front of the new fire station at Holden. It’ll be pretty sweet to walk from the fire station down to that corner of the new park.

  • WSB January 23, 2008 (10:37 pm)

    And just to underscore everyone who has said it’s VITAL you express your position DIRECTLY to the Parks Department – that’s why we ALWAYS include links to their e-mail, snail mail, phone numbers, etc., with the direct exhortation (as seen above) to let them know. Even if you cut and paste something you already wrote here – be SURE you are on the record somewhere with the Parks Department. Also worth noting, the Parks Department is now under different management — a brand-new superintendent (Tim Gallagher) who has even been seen at some of the recent West Seattle meetings — so if you were disenchanted before for any reason, consider it the dawn of a new day.

  • SLK January 23, 2008 (11:13 pm)

    Just wondering… what exactly is a rain garden anyway? And who would use it, to do what?
    It seems like there’s a lot of demand for a skatepark, so it seems reasonable to build one, but I am curious about what we’ll be missing out on with the rain garden.

  • Kayleigh January 24, 2008 (5:37 am)

    BGH, likening skateboarders to handicapped people is insulting. People don’t choose to be handicapped. People choose to skateboard. And there are laws that protect handicapped people’s access to the world the rest of us enjoy with less effort.

    Greenspace serves many, many more people than a skateboard park (including being better for the environment.)

    I wasn’t even going to read this thread, but I saw so many comments that I had to see what people were so excited about. Very strange, the things that are important to some people. (musing)

  • BGH January 24, 2008 (5:37 am)

    How about someone send the blog to the parks department. I would do it but I am one of those people that has about as much copmuter savvy as a rock. I can only type and not that well either.

  • BGH January 24, 2008 (5:39 am)

    I just love a good arugement with ignorant people. And again you missed the point.

  • carraig na splinkeen January 24, 2008 (6:06 am)

    Definitely a pro-vote for diverse public spaces, inc. a place for skaters. I doubt there is such resistance to off-leash dog parks, but Seattle is becoming less and less a place for kids and families.

  • WSB January 24, 2008 (6:33 am)

    BGH, parks dept. project manager Virginia Hassinger is aware of the site (she told the crowd twice at the meeting that this is one place where they would find the drawings posted; we’d written to her to ask for them before the meeting so we wouldn’t have to take a low-quality photo of them on easels AT the meeting). However, I don’t believe this site or any other unofficial public discussion (message board, comments on a newspaper or tv online story, etc.) could be considered official feedback. Certainly it could be mentioned in someone’s official e-mail, tho.

  • Ken January 24, 2008 (7:08 am)

    the html 1 paragraph tag seems to be blocked. I use the xml compliant workaround

  • Ken January 24, 2008 (7:15 am)

    lets try that again

    The forum seems to have different filter rules than the main comments,
    And the preview does not show the code no matter what tag I try.
    So the xml is left angle, br, space, frontslash, right angle.

  • Kayleigh January 24, 2008 (8:04 am)

    BGH, I love a good argument with rude people. That people disagree with you doesn’t make them ignorant.

    My point is: IF the skateboarding changes the character of the park in certain ways, and I don’t know if it will, (ie noise, crime, reduced greenspace, whatever), then it doesn’t serve everyone.

    If you want to bring people onto your side, try using respect. It works better. Right now, you’re having the opposite effect you intend.

  • m January 24, 2008 (9:20 am)

    The fact that the skatepark won’t serve ‘everyone’ is a ridiculous argument. I certainly won’t be using it, but I’ll sit there and watch the people brave enough to get in there, so I guess I’d still be using it. And even if I didn’t watch, I wouldn’t care b/c the users of the park have somewhere to go instead of ruining benches, ramps, rails elsewhere and that IS serving the public (i.e.- EVERYONE). Think beyond yourself- it makes the world a better place.

  • JT January 24, 2008 (10:25 am)

    Kayleigh, no one is saying a skatepark “serves everyone”. That interpretation is what is really nonsense. The point being made is that a park with multiple uses and options can serve most people. Those of us for the skate feature are trying to be as inclusive as possible. BGH has just been trying to get the correct point across to you and I agree with him.

  • coffee geek January 24, 2008 (10:51 am)

    I tired of reading all the comments, but Mark’s generous offer piqued my interest…and mild concern. I am in no way a seasoned skater (I try), but a skatepark cn’t be designed/built ny just anyone. A poor design that ends up unused is worse than no skatepark at all. Examples of this can be found at Also, here are a couple websites for reputable park builders: and Grindline parks are INSANE!! They built the Ballard bowl! :)

  • NaSw January 24, 2008 (12:49 pm)

    Coffee geek,along with Mark, a small step in the right direction.

    And to address Matt Johnston’s response:

    Well, Matt Johnston, he who smelt it….;

    But anyway, no doubt many of the posters on this forum are from the same camp and some of the responses are oddly lock step. As I said, tag team posting by Skate Board Advisory Committee members , their friends, associates and family, does not an overwhelming majority make. Matt Johnston, you don’t’ even live in my neighborhood (Genesee is not the Myrtle Reservoir neighborhood) And you’ve been battling for skate parks all over the city and many areas have successfully fought the threat of greenspace appropriation (Ravenna, for example). You clearly HAVE made a career out of skate park advocacy (and you sure don’t seem shy about getting your name out there) so why are you “offended” when I point this out? And why aren’t you being a stronger advocate for locating a large skate park in Genesee playfield or West Seattle Stadium or High Point (other areas the city identified as possibilities) Where’s that discussion? Why target Myrtle (other than it’s an EASY target). Furthermore, there has never been a discussion as to what the scope and size of various options are. Definitions of regional, district, spot and dot should be emphasized in any of these discussions. It should also be emphasized the a skate DOT and SPOT are vastly different. I think many people have been fooled into thinking they are one in the same, or, similar.

    A park chopped up into pieces of fixed built structures (hello faction of people who think a park for ‘everyone’ should be some sort of Fun Forest) is not a park with integrity. The proposed skate park would eliminate mature trees (a couple of them being those wonderful Sequoias, judging from the design plan) and it would be 10,000sq. ft. of cement without a break (unlike skate dots which incorporate other park structures, like benches)..

    Time and time again the skate supporters have dodged the question of why Myrtle Reservoir for siting a LARGE skate feature? Many neighborhoods around the city have already shouted down large regional, and skate “Spot” areas in their neighborhoods as well still very large skate ‘spots’ I think you and supporters welcome confusion between skate-spot and skate DOT wording. You won’t be satisfied with a ‘skate DOT’ and want a larger space for your cause…and you’ll fight to get it where you can and if the Myrtle Reservoir neighbors are in the dark about what the other options are (i.e High Point, et al or a smaller, more integrated skate feature) they’ll somehow think this is the only chance to have a skate facility in West Seattle (Wrong!). In general, as you lobby for parks around the city when you do get a park, you put a feather in your cap, pat yourself on the back and say, ‘look what I did for the skate community…love me!”(you have as much self interest in this as anyone else) I also can figure out where skate board shop owners and equipment dealers weigh in on this (If you build it, they will come! Ca-CHING!). I think you are being very “disingenuous” about where skate boarders can lobby to site a larger-than-skate-dot site in West Seattle The neighbors around the Myrtle Reservoir were NOT informed, nor included in on the site selection process…every last one of the residents on my block claims to be in the dark about this (but I for one, intend to change that!) .

    One of the tactics I’ve noted in the comments here (and at the meeting) is the tactic of creating controversy where there is none, as in perpetuating some sort of myth about “a war on kids” and some sort of vague hatred of people who like to skateboard. What a load of malarkey. It’s just a way to garner support by claiming to be a victim of injustice (“aw gee, do it for the kids” “aw gee why do they hate us”) Seeing the value in greenspace does not equal hatred or disapproval or lack of support for skate parks, skate boarders or anyone else. But I do hate large expanses of cement where green space used to be. And if being an advocate for the beauty and stewardship of the environment I live in makes me an elitist, then I’m proud to be one. (I’m also proud to be a nimby, if being a nimby means caring about the area you call home, taking an interest in your property values and generally wanting to live in a comfortable, sustainable environment).

    I don’t see how advocating for greenspace deprives a skateboarder. Look around you, there’s plenty of cement! We live in a city. There are many more creative opportunities to site a park. And seeing that the city has already recommended High Point, I think that’s a better place to start. I think it’s self-serving to advocate for one in an area that does not need to bring cement into the mix (pardon the pun) in order to serve the ENTIRE community . And, I’m willing to bet my cold, hard, kid hating elitist little heart that the vast majority of skate park supporters on this blog do not live in CLOSE proximity to the Myrtle Reservoir on the same side of 35th. Um, I didn’t notice any of you skate supporters at the block parties and that’s what I would consider THE NEIGHBORHOOD.

  • NaSw January 24, 2008 (1:05 pm)

    Skate Board Advisory Committe Members who may be following this debate:

    I would like to know where I might find documentation on how and why the the sites were chosen, when the meetings were held, etc. I know it’s public disclosure, but how would I go about obtaining these documents or would someone here be kind enough to link to them. This might answer some important questions I’ve highlighted.

  • Aaron January 24, 2008 (1:15 pm)

    I bet I could pinpoint who the person at the meeting was that left this hilarious comment:

    “…there was a very organized, calculated attempt to appropriate an area already earmarked for green space by bringing attention to a constituency of enthusiastic middle aged skateboarders who use the sport of skateboarding as way to gain attention and experience in the political process by lobbying and making a career out of skateboard advocacy.”

    Here’s the thing. I’m 32 years old, I live a block away, and I attended the meeting and spoke up in support of the skate feature. Why? Because skating was the defining aspect of my youth, and that was a time when parks were being torn down, not built. We skated in active parking lots at malls, getting chased off by security guards. Or maybe we’d find a supermarket with a sweet loading dock area, or an elementary school amphitheater. Point is, do you really want to relegate the children in your community to these areas, or do you want to provide a safe, highly visible area for them to enjoy their favorite sport? Everyone seems to have a “not in my backyard” attitude, which gets us nowhere.

    To the people that want to complain about green space, pools, and bathrooms? Please, we already have an abundance of these elements in our community. Wouldn’t it be great to see people of all ages outdoors in our neighborhood enjoying something? What a rare sight! You know what? Not everyone wants to play soccer, or football, or baseball.

    And regarding the anti-concrete people, go jackhammer your driveway and have it removed. The key is balance, and arguing that point over an area this small is just ridiculous. Why would you want to discourage a sport that doubles as an emissions free method of transportation?

  • WSB January 24, 2008 (1:19 pm)

    Aaron, that reminds me. We don’t get involved in the pros/cons – but you gave me another chance to comment: “Middle-aged”? The majority of pro-skateboarding adults who spoke at the meeting appeared to be no older than 30something. If that’s middle-aged, get me my room at The Kenney or The Mount already.

  • coffee geek January 24, 2008 (1:35 pm)

    NaSw: Thanks for thinking my comment is a small step in the right direction…BUT make no mistake! I’m all for a LARGE skatepark in this, what I consider, a great central WS locale. The scope of the Sprinker skatepark in Spanaway comes to mind… As long as it’s designed and built in the correct manner (i.e. by grindline or dreamland) I’m all for it! I think a skatepark would be a wonderful addition to our parks here…a place for FAMILIES to gather and recreate.

  • Matt Johnston January 24, 2008 (1:43 pm)


    I put my name “out there” because taking anonymous shots across the internet feels disingenuous to me. I will always accountable for what I say, warts and all. The advocates you are referring to also stand by this ethos, and none of them have posted here. Again, your conspiracy theory is unwarranted.

    As for the rest of your opinions, I would be happy to discuss them in person should you ever reveal yourself. Apparently you know where I live (which is not creepy at all by the way).

    If not it’s OK to disagree.

  • Matt Johnston January 24, 2008 (1:46 pm)

    For NaSw, or anyone else who is interested, the Citywide Skatepark Plan can be found here:

  • DaveS January 24, 2008 (3:45 pm)


    I live within 1/2 block from the Myrtle location. I don’t skate, I don’t have kids. I would NEVER use a pea patch or a species garden. I would LOVE to see kids skating when I walked my dog through the park.

    Green space is nice, but be realistic. This site is on extremely busy 35th ave. it will never be a relaxing getaway location, so why not make it a place that attracts the neighborhood folk to it?

    One question though… is it true that bikes aren’t normally allowed on skate parks? That would be a bummer to me.

  • acemotel January 24, 2008 (4:27 pm)

    Matt: there are various and sundry reasons why people may not want to use their real names on the internet, not all of them nefarious, conspiratorial, or disingenuous. That said, I’m on your side. A park will never be all things to all people. Impossible. Every segment of the population deserves a place to recreate, and it’s high time the skaters had a few places of their own. The nature lovers have acres and acres in Schmitz Park, Lincoln Park, Alki Beach Park and all the many untouched greenbelts throughout West Seattle. Wouldn’t the nature purists rather have the skaters in a skate park than say, under the bridge at Schmitz Park, affecting the wildlife and ecosystem?

  • JT January 24, 2008 (5:22 pm)

    NaSw – I’ve never seen you post on this blog before now. If you would bother reading a little deeper, you would see the rest of have been talking to each other for a long time on a wide range of topics. Perhaps you are really the outsider that does not represent the neighborhood. It is offensive for you to continue to accuse us of being a part of a conspiracy tag team just because we disagree with you. If you wish to leave your full name and address on here I promise I’ll walk over and show you my drivers license so you can rest better knowing I really live by the park.

  • BGH January 24, 2008 (6:33 pm)

    Well I have to fess up I also am not one of the so called conspiracy tag team that NaSw referred to. Although I read the WSB all the time I just happened to stumble on this topic yesterday. I really don’t even like skate boarders because the are always in the wrong place like The Junction. The 16 year old next door neighbor boy is a avide skate boarder and he is a great kid. The boarders just need a place to skate just like a swimmer needs a place to swim and kid needs a play ground, fathers need a place to play catch with their kids an so on. Like I said yesterday I will never use the skate park but my 5 year old daughter might some day. I know the need for a park with many features. I live within eyesight of Hiawatha Play Field. I take my daughter there all the time and there is MANY different activities going on. My wife plays CO REC soccer there a lot as well. Seems to me a skate park is needed so why not here? It is on 35th so if the problems like some people say there is (WHICH IS NOT TRUE) the police drive by ALL the time on highway 35th. It is a logical place. I looks like me a 42 year old father is part of a TAG TEAM.
    Boy that made me laugh. By the way WSB needs a spell check. I am also not a good speler.

  • Jerald January 24, 2008 (9:17 pm)

    Prompted by this discussion, I did send a pro-skateboard email to Virginia Hassinger this morning. She already responded personally and said she would look at the WS Blog, which I suggested.

  • cleverblognameTBD January 24, 2008 (9:37 pm)

    Here’s an issue about the skate facility I found confusing at the meeting:
    The Citywide Skatepark Plan says that one facility may be located in this area, either at High Point Community Center OR Myrtle. The presentation seemed to imply that if space is not allocated now, then a subsequent siting process could never put a skatepark at Myrtle. We seem to have the cart before the horse. I think we should allocate the space in such a way that when High Point and Myrtle are weighed against each other and the best location chosen, if that turns out to be Myrtle, the allocated space could easily be converted. I think we’ve gotten confused that allocation means the park must go in at Myrtle, but no discussion happened about what to do until the two sites are weighted.
    A solution could be install the simple landscaping of the Rain Garden (swales and plantings). Then, if Myrtle is the ultimate location, the place looks nice until funding is raised and actual construction could begin. And if High Point is the ultimate location, the park stays unchanged. (sorry if I don’t know how to insert paragraphs yet)

  • Aaron January 25, 2008 (9:40 am)

    WSB –
    Middle aged…that didn’t even register. Let me know if either of those places have vacancies. Evidently I need to reserve mine now!

    Fascinating, btw, to see how much attention this little park has drummed up.

  • whitcombriley January 25, 2008 (11:12 am)

    Skateparks are often frequented by razor scooters, inline skates, roller skates and bikes. It will be used by more than just skaterboarders.

  • NaSw January 25, 2008 (12:04 pm)

    THANK YOU cleverblognameTBD, whichever side of the fence you my be on.

    I wish I would have said what cleverTBD has, succintly and clearly, and less emotionally than the way I have tried to communicate this. Maybe then, the issues I brought up would invite comment instead of a pro-skate cheerleading session.

    I think this highlights the issue at hand for what it is, and not the black and white “skate-park no skate-park” stance as summed up by WSB.

    Also, Matt, thank you for the link, but there is more information I’m after. It is interesting that both a Skate-Spot and District site can incoporate 10,000 sq.ft. anything over 10,000 (and the designer stated 10 to 12, puts it squarely in the ‘district’ category, which was loudly shouted down at the meeting last year).

    And Matt, I know what neighborhood you live in because I asked at the meeting (creepy, right?), so don’t try to make it sound so sneaky and nefarious.

  • HPN January 25, 2008 (1:45 pm)

    As a user of High Point Playfield (soccer and tennis) and neighbor to both sites, I’m totally confused by the skateboard “community” support of Myrtle over High Point. High Point is a far superior choice because it has more than enough space to accomodate the dot, existing infrastructure (rest rooms, adjacent playground so parents can keep an eye on both skateboarders and their younger siblings at the same time, and a staffed community center next door so if there are any problems, help is quickly on the way).

    Conversely, it makes no sense why we want to create another High Point type play area at Myrtle only two blocks away. This would be a complete waste of money duplicating services ($1 million+ for toilets/playground, etc.). Worse yet, it would destroy the potential of Myrtle as a green, peaceful park with spectacular views.

    We in the neighborhood should be able go to High Point to play (and skate) and to Myrtle to enjoy the spectacular views in a green setting without distraction of kids going up and down the paths with their boards. We’re offering skaters a wonderful space at High Point to do their thing without interference. It would be nice if they could pay us the same respect at Myrtle.

  • BGH January 25, 2008 (3:16 pm)

    You know NaSw, if I was a betting man I would say you are a control freak. A least judging by the way you write.

  • Peter Whitley January 26, 2008 (7:40 am)

    MARK: Posts and posts and posts ago you mentioned some ideas for permeable skate structures. While I’m dubious, I’d love to hear more about your ideas.

    Please contact me on 206-235-0138 or via Skaters for Public Skateparks.

    Matt (Johnston), you’re fortunate to have such a warm, inspired community. I grew up in Fremont (B.F. Day alumni) and though I live in Tacoma, I see that Seattle is alive and well!

  • just askin January 27, 2008 (10:52 pm)

    The blog post says “more than half a dozen kids and teens” attended.

    So what was it, seven?

  • » Blog Archive » West Seattle Herald: “Many oppose skateboards at Myrtle Reservoir Park” January 30, 2008 (4:46 pm)

    […] are opposed to the idea of a reasonably-sized skatepark in the new Myrtle Reservoir Park. However, this comment thread on the West Seattle Blog, and my own experience at that very meeting, suggests […]

  • jason January 31, 2008 (7:17 pm)

    Those who are concerned with the environmental effects of constructing skateparks on green space: these days skateparks can be/are designed with a greater artisitc and environmental regard. Concrete is sculpted into flowing organic shapes reflecting the surrounding environment. Large rocks, boulders, and even trees are often incorporated into the design as skateable features; eliminating the need for their removal–and the argument that skateparks are not earth friendly. Grindline’s Mammoth Lakes skatepark proves how environmentally pleasing a skatepark design could be. It just takes some open minded thought and creativity.

  • manual February 3, 2008 (9:02 am)

    drive by most baseball fields and soccer fields, notice how most of the time, they are empty. drive by most skateparks, notice how people (kids and adults) are there and using them. get w/ it people, we NEED places for kids to do the activities they want to do, and activities that are not your standard “stick & ball” type of sports. Why does Kent have like 4 skateparks and look at Portland, they have like over 30 planned all over their city. We either step up and do something cool and progressive, (AND good for OUR community) or be left in the dust. why are we so damn conservative?

  • Voice February 24, 2008 (11:32 pm)

    There seem to be a few pro skatepark posts here lauding the virtues of diversity. I agree that this would be a great by-product…but, fact is…that in neither of the two meetings (both of which I attended) regarding a possible skatepark at Myrtle) did ONE person of color show up. Let’s reflect on that for a moment: Perhaps crossing over 35th into a less diverse neighborhood is not as inviting to a person of color? Fact is, studies bear that out folks. So, perhaps it would make sense, as was discussed many times during our meeting that we leave a green space a green space at Myrtle and build the skatepark in an existing diverse neighborhood at the Highpoint Community Center. Why the adversity to Highpoint where there are already bathrooms, more land, etc.? Let’s open up a discussion with leaders of the High Point community, make sure they are invovled…get THEIR input…THEIR interest level and find out what THEY want? THEY were all on the mailing for those meetings…why weren’t THEY interested? Let’s make sure this is a WE decision for a real combined community decision.

    Having said this, apparently, in an email to a local West Seattle community activist Kevin Stoops, Director of the Planning and Development Division for Seattle Parks has apparently decided to circumvent/change the previously outlined public process in not looking evenly at both Highpoint and Myrtle Resevoir options by sending this two line email: “We are going to incorporate some sort of small skatepark element into the current Myrtle project”. “We do not have any plans for a High Point Playfield project.”

    If the city’s mind is already made up on this issue and they’re just going through the steps on this I can guarantee you a long, pro-tracted battle by some well-prepared individuals in the community.

    I’m a huge fan and pro-supporter of activities for kids and adults alike and I’m convinced that there’s a win-win here…I believe the skatepark at Highpoint is it!

    Stoops: Give diversity AND democracy a chance.

  • WSB February 25, 2008 (6:16 am)

    Hi – the report preceding this comment thread is a month old so new discussion is not likely to ensue but we followed up the e-mail you mention with a new report about the project just the other day:

  • bri February 26, 2008 (8:05 pm)

    This comment thread has been as obviously packed by skatepark supporters from outside the neighborhood as the meeting was.

    The attitude coming through from the skatepark supporters should give everyone in the neighborhood pause, since they’re basically saying that neighbors shouldn’t have a right to have primary input into what happens in their neighborhood over the voices of a special interest that trying to railroad a community process.
    If they were sincere about wanting the best solution, they wouldn’t mock the people who would rather see the skatepark at High Point.
    There is a dishonest backchannel in process here that Parks is willing to pretend they’re not aware of, in order to manipulate the outcome despite the input of the neighbors most affected.
    If the neighborhood had nothing to worry about, the skatepark supporters from outside the reservoir area wouldn’t have to resort to such tactics.

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