June 14, 1999
WOODINVILLE--Citing domestic pressure from her son, Woodinville City Councilmember Marsha Engel passionately argued for a skateboard park in downtown Woodinville as soon as possible, during last week's City Council study session.
After an initial lukewarm reception to her proposal by fellow council members, Engel hung on to the issue like an aroused pit bulldog's grip on an enemy's throat.
"The recent youth violence in Colorado should warn us that we need to provide more activities for our kids," said Engel. "We need this park right now, even if it's just a temporary one. Right now, parents have to drive kids all the way to skateboard parks in Redmond or other towns. We are obligated to create more places for kids to hang out.
"We can't wait for a community center to be built before we put one in; the planning and construction for that would take several more years. Woodinville business owners are tired of scolding and chasing away our skateboarding kids. Right after incorporation, the excuses were 'we don't have any land' and 'it's just a fad.' Well, now we have land, and it's not just a fad. Skateboarding has been around for over 35 years, and its not going away."
Engel said she saw no good reason why a proposed skateboard park should not be moved to the first tier of the city's CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) projects, from its current position on the second tier. Second tier projects usually get carried over to the first tier on the following year's CIP, but run the risk of being bumped down again by newer proposals.
Engel asked if an existing park, such as Wilmot, might have enough room for skateboarders. Councilmember Randy Ransom firmly responded that he didn't want the Council to "bastardize" the well-planned concepts of other capital projects. The Council agreed.
"I've had experience with skateboard parks, and one would not fit in an existing park. I could see replacing a first-tier project like the pedestrian bridge with a skateboard park, but we'd have to acquire additional land," Ransom said.
By the end of the discussion, the Council instructed Parks & Recreation Director Lane Youngblood to look into low-cost alternatives to cement skateboard parks.
Later in the week, Engel reported that Pat Parkhurst of Bothell's Parks & Recreation Dept. will soon send Engel and Youngblood a copy of all planning information they have gathered for a wooden skateboard park in the Pop Keeney complex. That $70,000 facility is due to open by the end of August.