Town Council considers skateboard park in Waterville

By Joel Harding

At its Sept. 4 meeting, the Waterville Town Council heard a proposal for a community skateboard park from Parks Superintendent Marc Lester. Several sites are under consideration, and outside funding will be sought through state programs, private organization grants and private donations. During the first week of October, Lester will convene a local committee to investigate the possibility of the project. Several public meetings will be held along the way. The process to accept and construct the skate park would take until 2014.

“It is important for the Town to provide good, healthy activities for the young people. This is one way we can do that,” Lester said.

Among the considerations for the committee will be the products from which the skate park is made. Naturally, the rails will be made from steel, but there are choices for the other material. Concrete will form the floor of the facility, but quarter pipes, half pipes and other barriers can be made of either concrete, composite or wood. Concrete is the most expensive, but also the most durable. The Derby Skatepark in Santa Cruz, Calif., a concrete facility, just received its first facelift after 35 years of constant use.

Another consideration is the possibility of misbehavior at the skatepark. A central location would enable city employees to oversee those activities which might result in problems. However, even in a city like nearby Wenatchee, misbehavior has not been an issue.

“We’ve had no more problems at the skate park than at any other facility,” Director of Wenatchee Parks Dave Erickson said.

The location of the skate park will be an important issue for the advisory committee to discuss. Two areas have been suggested. The paved area west of the swimming pool has some advantages. While the paving would need to be removed, that work could be done with city equipment and volunteer help. Another suggestion would be to use the east end of Pioneer Park, where the sunken garden is located. The advisory committee will consider these and other locations during their deliberations.

One possible solution to the financing issue would be to appeal to the Recreation and Conservation Office of Washington State for funds. Another possible solution would be to apply for funds through the Tony Hawk Foundation, a national entity that promotes and funds the building of skate parks. Mike Leeds, a Wenatchee resident and a leader in Skaters For Public Skateparks, can assist the town in seeking support for the project. Some work can be done by Town employees and local volunteers using Town equipment. Donations may come from a variety of sources, both from Waterville and other communities. Seeking funds will be a continuous effort throughout the process.

A large crowd attended the Council meeting the same night the matter was discussed, including many of the young people who would be using the park.

“I’m excited that there might be a skate park, my friends and I would use it all the time,” sixth grader Kyle Borden said.