Design phase begins for skate park

June 24, 2014

By Peter Clark

Now that the new skate park has a location, the city is gathering public input on its design.

The Issaquah City Council approved a parcel at Tibbetts Valley Park for the construction of the skate park May 19. The budgeted $350,000 will go to remove the current one, which caused ongoing community concern due to the presence of drug use and illicit activities, and build a new one sometime in 2015.

The Parks & Recreation Department held the first of three community public input meetings June 18 to collect ideas from local residents about what they would like to see in the new attraction.

“We really need to hear from you guys what you want to see there,” City Parks & Recreation Manager Brian Berntsen said to the crowd of about 30 residents and skaters gathered in Tibbetts Creek Manor for the meeting. “That’s really what we want from you guys. We want to get as many people in as part of the process as we can.”

Through a request for proposals process, the city chose Seattle-based Grindline Concrete Skatepark Design and Construction to shape the new park.

Lead designer Micah Shapiro introduced the project to the meeting’s attendees and talked about the personal connection Grindline shares with Issaquah.

“We’re all pretty excited about this project,” he said. “We all started skating in the Northwest, including Issaquah’s skate park when it was the latest and the greatest. It’s cool to see something new here.”

Shapiro laid out Grindline’s approach to community-involved design of the park, which will include a June 30 meeting to evaluate a preliminary design and a July 9 meeting to present a final concept. After that, the design will go out to bid for contractors with expected construction to begin next summer.

For the first meeting, Shapiro said he just wanted to hear initial ideas for the park.

“The more input we get the better,” he said. “We really try to custom-tailor our parks to the community. I always tell people to think about what you want to be skating in five years.”


Site could limit features

He said the triangle-shaped spot across from the Issaquah Park & Ride provided some pros and cons for designing a skate park, expected to be 8,000 to 10,000 square feet. It offers a visibility and convenience, but the terrain may limit the features.

“It would be tough to do a really deep bowl,” Shapiro said, referring to a feature of some skateboarding parks. “The drainage there may be a problem.”

Everyone in the room was allowed a chance to express what they wanted in a new skate park. They reached an easy consensus as most everyone expressed wanting to see diversity in the park.

“I would like to see a good mix of street and transition,” local skater Austin Fischer said, referring to different forms of skateboarding. “It doesn’t have to be too big or too crazy.”

Shapiro defined street skating as using what is out in the urban environment and transition skating as using a quarter-pipe, half-pipe and bowls.

Fischer voiced an appreciation of Seattle’s Judkins Skatepark, which Grindline designed, as a good example of what he would like to have in Tibbetts Valley Park. He was not alone. As more people gave their opinions, most asked for variety and used Judkins Skatepark as a standard.

“This is probably going to be the skate park for a long time,” local skater Chris Shepard said. “I think it’d be a good idea if it’s not dedicated to just one thing.”

Shapiro stressed that Grindline also wanted to make each park unique to the community in which it’s built. So, he also asked for ideas of how to incorporate Issaquah into the design. Salmon and Issaquah’s trail systems were two ideas given by residents.

“Take something from Issaquah’s skate park,” Fischer said. “Just for nostalgia’s sake.”

Skaters were not the only people represented. Parents and residents from other cities attended to gather information and give opinions.

“I do think this has the opportunity to be a nice focal point for Issaquah and a nice draw for the community,” resident and parent Susan Lauinger said. “I would also like to see places to sit, of course.”

Shapiro said Grindline would take the information given in the meeting and apply it a preliminary concept. Above everything else, he asked the public to get involved in the process.

“At the end of the day, I want you guys to feel like this is your skate park,” he said. “Like you had your say in it. The idea is it’s your guys’ skate park and we want you to feel like that.”


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