Skate park location could be decided at March 24 meeting

March 18, 2014

By Peter Clark

After two public meetings, the Issaquah Parks & Recreation Department has narrowed the number of possible sites for a new skate park.

“It’s down to four that we’re considering now,” Parks & Recreation Manager Brian Berntsen said.

The locations are Veterans’ Memorial Field, Gibson Park, Central Park and Tibbetts Valley Park, near the Issaquah Transit Center.

Berntsen said the Park Board would make the next decision.

“Hopefully, by the March 24 Park Board meeting, they will have a recommendation to the mayor,” he said. “We want to hear from the public, and every Park Board meeting has public input time.”

Berntsen commended the residents who came out to share opinions during the March 6 and 13 public meetings.

“We did hear a lot of different voices,” he said. “There were a lot of pros and cons for each site.”

Some of those “cons” came from the Issaquah Valley Senior Center, on the other side of Veterans’ Memorial Field from the prospective site. Craig Hansen, president of the senior center board of directors, sent a letter to Mayor Fred Butler and the City Council asking them to reconsider looking at the park.

“At our March 11 meeting, the board of directors of Issaquah Senior Center unanimously voted to send this letter,” Hansen said. “We strenuously object to the proposed location and construction of a skateboard facility in Veterans’ Memorial Field.”

The letter said a new park would limit space for other activities, would create “risk management concerns” and would nullify the community investment of the current facility.

Concerns about drug activity and lack of public visibility for the current park led residents to ask the City Council for a solution. In answer, the council approved a city budget last year, which included $350,000 for demolition of the current park and construction of a new one.

“Funding for a new skate park is comprised of $200,000 from the Park Mitigation Fund and $150,000 from the Real Estate Excise Tax Fund,” according to the city’s website. “Once the mayor and city council finalize a location, we’ll reach out to the community for design input.”

Berntsen said he didn’t know when the location discussion would reach the full council.

 

 

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