Derek Snel demonstrates his skateboard skills on a ramp that he constructed. He and other teens are hoping that a skateboard park will be constructed in the Northshore area.
by Jeff Switzer
Area skateboarders and roller-bladers say they are tired of being kicked out of every nook and cranny.
They can't skate on school property because of liability issues, and forget parking lots of area businesses: They call the police, and some boarders have had their boards confiscated.
So, with nowhere to practice their sport legally, they've banded together to create a park.
"They're perceived as nuisances," said Renee Mallis, a skateboard mom and president of the Northshore Skate Park Committee. "These kids need a place to legitimately and safely participate in their sport. I'm excited to see the continued participation of the young people."
Last week, the committee met for the fifth time, with a contingent of 25 skaters aged 11 to 19, a turnout much greater than the third and fourth meetings.
"They said if we didn't get more people, the thing would be dead," said Tim Sharp, a 14-year-old from Skyview Junior High. "Now we just need people to stick with it and cooperate."
Sharp says he and other people on the committee hope they can start building in spring of 1997. But several major hurdles still need to conquered: finding a site and designing a park among them. They must also raise funds for the purchase of the site and for construction.
Home Depot in Bothell, however, has pledged an unspecified amount of materials and the craftsmen to construct the park.
Mallis said she is hoping to see some dads come on board to partner with their teens and help the project along.
"This is a project that can work. It's good for the community, it's good for the kids, and it's good for the parents," she added. "I think it has great potential for the community. Because there isn't one square foot for them to practice on, we're turning these kids into outlaws."
Committee chairs were assigned last week, with focuses on site and design and fundraising. So far, the committee is planning to have a fundraising dance with several live bands the third week in August.
The committee is still desperate for adult volunteers, anyone with some experience with site and architectural design as well as fundraising, presentations, and grant writing, as they are seeking funding for the project.
But when it comes down to it, they are looking for people who want to get involved and work to accomplish the ultimate goal of building a skate park in the Northshore area.
The next meeting of the full committee is July 29 at the Bothell Regional Library at 7 p.m. Those who want to get involved or need more information can call Renee Mallis at 483-0346.