Fighting For A Skate Park Part II – Electric Boogaloo

Taken by Patrick Johnson for the Wilsonville Spokesman

Taken by Patrick Johnson for the Wilsonville Spokesman

So, I previouly wrote a letter to the Spokesman, arguing against those who would reject skateboarders out of hand, and argued in favor of a new skate park. Aparrently I was not the only one who felt this way, as last week Monday some of Wilsonville’s skateboarders and their families came to the city council meeting to argue in favor of a skate park. I can’t give any specific information on what was covered, as video of City Council meetings are only available through their cable access channel, which, as is the nature of the beast, you can only have access to if you have a cable subscription, and the Work Session isn’t covered. Consequently, if you don’t have a cable subscription (or instead have Satellite or FIOS TV), then you can’t watch the meeting if you weren’t able to attend. No, there isn’t any streaming video available.

Isn’t transparency in government great?

Fortunately, the Wilsonville Spokesman did an article about the meeting, so I was able to find out some of what was discussed, and the discussion at the council meeting lead to a seperate meeting with council members Stephen Hurst and Michelle Ripple, as well as representatives of the parks department to discuss what actions skateboarders and their families (and me) can do to get a skate park together. I managed to get enough notice on this one (8 hours notice – from the article in the Spokesman) to attend this one.

Currently, the site that’s in the running is a 14,000 square foot triangular parsel along Courtside Drive in Wilsonville, which is literally a hop, skip, and jump from City Hall. It connects to Town Center Park, where a lot of skateboarders are currently using the water feature to skateboard on as the current “skate park” (which I linked to in my previous blog) is not usable due to maintance it’s undergoing. In the process the skateboarders are damaging the water feature – which is one of the reasons why the Courtside Drive location is superior to Memorial Park, it’s closeer to where they skateboarders already hang out.

However, there is one small problem. One of the people at the meeting got in touch with the company(s) that designed and constructed the skate parks in Tualatin, West Linn, and Tigard, and did the research, and determined that what Wilsonville needs, in terms of skate park size, to cover both the park itself, as well as necessarly landscaping, is 30,000 square feet, twice as much as the current site has. From what I understand, the City owns the adjacent square parsel as well, but was planning on selling that. The suggested solution, though we haven’t come to an agreement on this (Jim Barnes, who is with the city and was chairing the meeting – kind of shut down any talk of coming up with actual solutions, instead making the meeting about organization) is to lop a chunk of the square parsel of sufficient size to give us our 30,000 square feet for the park.

The other suggested sites are in Murase Plaza or Memorial Park and don’t even begin to have the visibility that the Courtside Drive spot has (I’ve walked past all 3 areas repeatedly, so I know what they look like). So, I volunteered to be on the steering comittee for the new park. I might not have started this, but I got myself involved when I wrote that letter, so I might as well stay involved. In for a penny, in for a pound.