Delridge Skatepark construction funding takes another turn

Funding for the future Delridge Skatepark has taken as many twists and turns as a virtuoso performance by one of the talented skaters who will use it someday. First it was going to be in this year’s city budget – then that changed at the last minute. Then, half a million dollars was found after bids on other work – including Hiawatha Playfield renovations – came in much lower than planned, and another $250,000 was moved from what once was to be a “skate spot” at the future Myrtle Reservoir park (which is currently behind schedule for non-Parks reasons). Now, we have news from last night’s Parks and Green Spaces Levy Oversight Committee meeting that the funding situation has taken another turn: Committee member (and Pigeon Point resident) Pete Spalding tells WSB:

The monies that the Parks Department had originally earmarked for this project vanished last month. This was once again attributed to the ongoing financial issues the City of Seattle is facing. The folks at Parks are committed to trying to make sure that the Delridge skatepark gets built. At last night’s Parks & Green Spaces Levy Oversight Committee meeting a proposal was brought forward to use 500k in surplus Opportunity Fund dollars from the Pro Parks levy to fund this portion of the Delridge skatepark. There was lots of discussion of the pros and cons of making this transfer but eventually a motion was made and after more discussion the motion did pass. Now this has to be turned in to legislation that will go to the City Council for approval later this year. The folks in our community that support this project need to send e-mails, write letters and/or make telephone calls to all 9 of our City Council members encouraging them to support this legislation when it comes before them for a vote.

(Pro Parks is the levy that preceded Parks and Green Spaces.) We have messages out to other city sources to get more details on this situation, and will add that information as we get it. Meantime, here’s the contact information for City Councilmembers – West Seattle-residing Tom Rasmussen chairs the Parks Committee but since all members are elected “at large,” no one represents this area in particular, and it’s vital to express your opinion to all of them. 1:52 PM UPDATE: A bit more information: According to Parks spokesperson Dewey Potter, the $500,000 “vanished” because the city Finance Department said no to moving it to the Delridge Skatepark budget. (We’re still looking for the reason WHY the Finance Department said no; meantime, note that this was NOT money that the Levy Committee had a say over, in the first place – it didn’t come from the levy; it came from other projects, including Hiawatha, that came in with under-budget bids. Potter says last night’s committee vote to use remaining Pro Parks Opportunity Fund money “makes the budget whole” and faces the following Council action: “This money will be included in the 4th quarter supplemental budget legislation and adopted with the budget in November.” Meantime, the council Parks Committee will vote next month on the $250,000 move – so if you’re contacting councilmembers with an opinion, you’ll want to let them know what you think about that too, since it’s not a done deal yet.

17 Replies to "Delridge Skatepark construction funding takes another turn"

  • jsrekd August 25, 2009 (12:32 pm)

    I have wondered if this funding would “disappear.” As a City employee who is facing 10 days off without pay next year and/or possible layoff…and a parent of a skateboarder, I am torn.

  • frustrated Nulu August 25, 2009 (12:48 pm)

    Suggests the vast, deep and fearful attitude against skate culture.

  • AceMotel August 25, 2009 (1:13 pm)

    First, it’s a big plus to have the council members elected at large, because we have many to lobby….not speaking ill of Tom Rasmussen, who is IMO the best there, but I don’t buy the council by district at all.

    Second, it’s disturbing that money can so seamlessly appear and likewise, disappear. The money trail was understandable until: “the money vanished…..attributed to the ongoing financial issues the City of Seattle is facing” There has to be some accountability. Where did the money go? Isn’t that the job of the oversight committee? I would expect the committee members to push on this subject until we get a reasonable explanation, otherwise, their many many meetings and discussions are nothing more than window dressing.

  • WS Dog Lover August 25, 2009 (1:18 pm)

    Is there any way the Seattle Parks Department could have a section of the grounds of this skate park be made up of bricks like the Statue Of Liberty’s plaza on Alki? People who care about the park could put a name or saying on each brick & the park would have more money to make it cool. They could even have different plaques on the ramps like other parks might have on brenches. Its important for children to have a safe place to play!

  • WS Dog Lover August 25, 2009 (1:24 pm)

    Its better to be in a park then pulling tricks or just zipping around at random stair cases, bus stops & parking lots around town. Its safer for the skaters. Plus, it is a nice way of making the skate community feel appreciated.

  • Skateboarder In Jct August 25, 2009 (1:39 pm)

    What a bummer, we definetly need to make calls and get this money back into our neighborhood. What about the money the city made from selling the sonics? Did that vanish too? 100s of Millions…

  • Pete August 25, 2009 (2:25 pm)

    The money was originally a part of a Cumulative Reserve Fund (CRF) project not part of a parks levy. Since it was surplus CRF funds the city’s finance dept has final say over where it can go. Because the city is facing a 72M shortfall right now they are looking for “surplus” funds like this to try and plug the gap.The money was a savings on a CRF project.

    Another comment was about bricks like at Alki…there actually is a group of neighbors that are putting together an art project that will be a seque between the community and the skate park project.

  • star55 August 25, 2009 (7:02 pm)

    Money just disappeared??? Who the h… is in charge. Yea, I read all the stuff above but that still does not explain how one day money is allocated and the next day “someone” moves money else where. Again I ask who is in charge????

  • WSB August 25, 2009 (7:42 pm)

    The Finance Director reports to the mayor. So that’s where the buck stops in this case – TR

  • AceMotel August 25, 2009 (8:41 pm)

    OK, got it, thank you. Looks like the Hiawatha improvements are REET II funds, according to the 2009-2014 Adopted Capital Improvement Projects. Converting the fields to synthetic turf? Looks like that was supposed to be done in 2008? Seems like there’s always something going on at Hiawatha, from the entry improvements in the ProParks levy, to field improvements in the school levy. But good to know these latest improvements and the appearing and disappearing money are not the purview of the levy oversight committee.

    I still think money SAVED by the parks dept. should STAY in the parks dept! I’m assuming any money saved in named levy projects remains in the same named project, or requires council action to move to another named project.

  • Pete August 26, 2009 (7:16 am)

    Any movement of funds within either the Pro Parks or the Parks & Green Spaces levy have to be brought to the oversight committee for consideration prior to going to the city council for action.

  • MLJ August 26, 2009 (9:54 am)

    I’d just like to point out here that this is another example of our Mayor acting out of step with the rest of city government.

    He was very supportive of the Lower Woodland skatepark, after much noise was generated around the attempted removal of the original Ballard skatepark by Seattle Parks.

    Since then, he’s been a real stick in the mud when it comes to skateparks. He refused to sign the line with his name on it in the City-Wide Skatepark plan, and ordered the Seattle Parks logos to be removed from it’s pages.

    He tried hard to keep the SeaSk8 park off of Seattle Center grounds, refused to show up at the opening ceremony, and even scheduled a last minute press event across town to draw the media away from the most important skatepark opening in Seattle history.

    Everyone else in city government has come around on public skateparks, including (thankfully) the City Council. I hope whoever gets elected to replace him supports providing more desperately needed facilities like this for kids, teenagers, and their families.

    Cross your fingers for this new source of funding. This kind of thing is unfortunately nothing new for skatepark projects and their supporters. Every skatepark in the ground is the product of a huge effort by the public.

    Please email the City Council (especially Rasmussen, Clark, Drago, and Conlin) and tell them about your support for the Delridge skatepark.

  • d August 26, 2009 (12:48 pm)

    Pete, or whomever –

    Maybe someone can take a minute to post the actual name & contact info of the “group of neighbors” working on the art project. Maybe more folks will jump on board (!) if they have that info right in front of them whilst reading, eh?

  • WSB August 26, 2009 (12:49 pm)

    We’ve reported that before – don’t have the link handy at the moment but Nancy Folsom with North Delridge Neighborhood Council has been spearheading last I checked.

    Also I have a followup from Tom Rasmussen that I will be posting within about 15 minutes – TR

  • Nancy F, August 30, 2009 (11:46 am)

    I was out of town when this happened, and heard about it late.

    Please do contact me at if you want to be involved in the skate park art project.

    We have selected an artist and will be meeting with them in early September to discuss their ideas. We will also be working on writing grant proposals and brainstorming fund raising ideas.

  • bobby September 6, 2009 (10:14 am)

    now is a good time to start lobbying the two mayoral candidates! find out and make public exactly where they stand on this issue.

  • seaweedtoasted September 16, 2009 (5:25 pm)

    Skateboarding is fun for the whole family.

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