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BARC moves forward with outdoor skatepark plans

The first phase of an outdoor skatepark at the Burton Adventure Recreation Center (BARC) will begin construction this spring, pending the receipt of a sizable grant the Vashon Park District will likely receive from King County this fall.

Park district program coordinator Susan McCabe said the district has long hoped to add an outdoor skate park at BARC, which currently includes a small indoor skate park, a BMX bike track and a nine-hole Frisbee golf course.

“We've been trying for the five years that I've been here to build something outdoors,” McCabe said, adding that the indoor park is partially open, meaning weather often leaves the wood and laminate jumps slippery and unusable.

McCabe said adding to the skate parks offerings could also attract more users and allow the park to extend its hours.

“There will be enough action in the park that we will be able to afford for a supervisor to be there more,” McCabe said.

Last year the park district commissioned detailed design plans from Grindline Skateparks, a Seattle company that has designed skateparks across the state and country, including the one at Seattle Center.

Grindline worked with Island skaters to complete the designs, considering what Vashon teens wanted in a new skatepark. “These are not designs we came up with and handed to them,” McCabe said. “These are designs they asked for.”

The designs the district ordered show the park being developed in phases, according to how much money can be raised from grants and the community.

Phase 1, the most expensive of four phases, will cost about $120,000 including permitting for all phases and will include a 2,600-square-foot skateable concrete rectangle, steps, rails and other skateable features. As more money for the project comes in, additional skate features could be added, such as a concrete bowl and a large, flat paved loop with ramps at its edges.

In addition to a $75,000 King County Youth Sports Facilities Grant that will likely be awarded to the Park District in November after the county budget is passed, several smaller grants from the Seattle Foundation, Development of Island Teens and the Lucky Seven Foundation will put the district within about $7,000 of what it needs to break ground on the project in April.

McCabe is confident the district can raise the additional money. “We'll have all our funding in place by the end of the year,” she said.

To complete all four phases of the skatepark would cost around $225,000, a price tag McCabe said is high, but not necessarily unattainable. “The chances are that getting this first phase done will energize community support to the potential of getting the rest of it done,” she said.

McCabe is pleased to see BARC expand its offerings for Island youth, especially considering that an Island survey two years ago indicated that alcohol and marijuana use among Vashon teens is higher than the state average.

“These are alternatives for kids who are not necessarily into team sports. … The kids at the skate parks who are really into boarding are incredible athletes,” she said. “It takes a lot of self-discipline and you can't take drugs when you're doing that.”

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