Who’ll build Delridge Skatepark? Update from advisory committee

From tonight’s meeting of the citywide Skate Park Advisory Committee downtown: No resolution yet to the question of “who’ll build Delridge Skatepark?” – but a little more light was shone on the concerns regarding bidder qualifications.

Last Friday, we reported on the concerns raised in a letter by SPAC leaders, including West Seattle’s Matthew Lee Johnston, published at his site SeattleSkateparks.org. It focused on the contention that the low bidder on the project (we reported on the bid opening 3 weeks ago) didn’t meet the qualification of having built six 15,000-square-foot (or more) skateparks in the past six years, and also on this: Instead of then giving the Delridge contract to the second-lowest bidder (which happens to be the firm that designed it, as a subcontractor to a landscape architect), Parks was reportedly considering putting it back out for bid, minus the qualification.

Project manager Kelly Davidson was not at the meeting – today was a furlough day for that part of the Parks Department. A Parks manager was on hand, though, Rick Nishi; he offered a bit of insight, saying that Parks’ Kevin Stoops had not been closely involved in skatepark project development before the qualifications for the project were beefed up, at the advisory committee’s request. Committee chair Ryan Barth expressed disappointment at the possibility that would nullify the committee’s main official role in the project, shaping its qualifications. He explained they feel especially vested in this project because they worked for years to make it happen, including advocating for its funding. Johnston spoke to a larger issue – addressed in the letter published on his site: They want skateparks recognized as “specialty construction” so that they’re not just open to the lowest bidder who can potentially nominally meet expectations.

Bottom line: As a Parks spokesperson told us on Friday, the department can decide to either re-bid the project, or award it to the second-lowest bidder; we’ll continue to check this week to see what is decided. Before this controversy flared up, it had been expected ground would be broken for Delridge Skatepark this month; it’s not clear yet whether the bid issue will push that further into the fall.

5 Replies to "Who'll build Delridge Skatepark? Update from advisory committee"

  • moxilot October 12, 2010 (8:34 am)

    So, they want to put it back out for bid without the experience requirement so that they can get the lowest price on the construction? I know the economy is crummy and every department is scraping for funds, but is there anything to be said for quality and longevity? I’d rather spend the money on a qualified bidder than worry about a substandard build that will end up costing more money to fix/rebuild down the road… not to mention the waste of time for an advisory committee.

  • LA October 12, 2010 (8:48 am)

    Put it out for bids again minus the qualification requirements? Something smells fishy!

  • Bill October 12, 2010 (8:56 am)

    6 parks (<15,000 sf), in six years? This reminds me of the "poison pill" that the Minnesota Vikings used to sign Steve Hutchinson.

  • lashanna October 12, 2010 (10:26 am)

    we have one being built in South Park right now….hmmm I wonder….

  • Nancy Folsom October 13, 2010 (5:56 pm)

    Because Mr. Stoops hasn’t been intimately involved he scuttles a project that’s been tirelessly shepherded _by_every_stakeholder_ for two plus years. It wasn’t enough that the City Council, the neighbors, and the skate board advisory board have worked long and hard on this. I’m disappointed and discouraged in my city government more than I can say.

Sorry, comment time is over.