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City deserves a skate park of its own, backers say

South Kitsap skateboarders could soon have two new facilities to choose from. - File photo
South Kitsap skateboarders could soon have two new facilities to choose from.
— image credit: File photo

Leslie Rynolds-Taylor decided, when her son was 13 years old, to build a skate park in Port Orchard.

Three and a half years later, she thinks the project’s nearly done.

“We just need a piece of land that we can put the skate park on,” she said.

She’s proactively looking through the city’s parks and empty lots to find a good location and hopes the Port Orchard City Council will allow her to build it on a lot or park within the city limits.

Her first choice is the Van Zee Park, on the corner of Tremont Street and Sidney Avenue. But if that’s not an option, Rynolds-Taylor said her second choice would be another park.

If that doesn’t work, she’d settle for an empty lot.

Several council members seem to

to already favor the project, said Councilman John Clauson.

“When I first came on the council,” he said, “I didn’t see a chance for a skate park at all. But I really see some support for it from some of the other council people now.”

Clauson said he backs the idea, and has all along.

“I’ve been a real supporter of it,” he said, “because my son was a skateboarder many years ago, and it kept him out of trouble.”

Rynolds-Taylor said her son has also inspired her to work on the skate park.

“I don’t skateboard or any of that,” she said, “I did (the fundraising) because I was watching my son and his friends get asked to leave the parking lot, for example, behind the QFC.

“They need their own environment,” Rynolds-Taylor said, “a place where they can hang out and start friendships.”

And they’ll probably have one nearby, regardless, of whether or not Rynolds-Taylor successfully builds her public skatepark within Port Orchard’s city limits, since Kitsap County plans to build such a facility at the South Kitsap Regional Park, on the corner of Jackson and Lund Avenues.

Rynolds-Taylor supports it, and thinks the two parks will complement each other.

The county’s skatepark will be about 10,000 square feet, and the city’s skate park will be about 2,500 square feet.

“Both parks will be for beginning, intermediate and advanced skateboarders and BMXers,” she said.

But she’d really like to get the skateboard park within Port Orchard’s city limits.

She plans to lobby the city council for a location through a presentation at a work study session at city hall on Feb. 15 and hopes to complete the project by the end of this summer.

So far, Rynolds-Taylor has raised about $30,000 for the project and currently has four grant applications out for more funding.

She believes that’s enough to proceed to the project’s building phase.

“We’re trying to promote healthy lifestyles for our kids as well as keep them safe,” Rynolds-Taylor said. “If we don’t get our kids outside, no one will.”

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