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Skatepark construction around the corner

A South Kitsap skatepark has long been hoped for by area skaters.  - Submitted
A South Kitsap skatepark has long been hoped for by area skaters.
— image credit: Submitted

The long awaited groundbreaking for the South Kitsap Skateboard Park is right around the corner.

Jim Dunwiddie, Kitsap County’s Parks and Recreation director, said permitting for phase 1, the skate bowl, of the multi-phase park’s project is nearly finished.

A trail access issue held the permit up in the county’s permitting department for two months, but Dunwiddie said the issue is nearly overcome.

Leslie Reynolds-Taylor, President of the South Kitsap Skate Park Association, said obvious frustrations have arisen over the amount of time it has taken the county to break ground on the skatepark. But, she said, she is finally receiving adequate feedback from Dunwiddie and Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido and believes the park is moving along.

“There are always frustrations,” she said. “But I always try to see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Because the construction of the skatepark is one part of an overall extensive upgrade to the county park west of Jackson Avenue, Dunwiddie said the permitting department needed to make sure the skatepark fit in with the park’s overall upgrade.

Reynolds-Taylor has worked as president of the organization since 2007. Her son was 13 when the group started to petition the county for a skate park.

Next fall he leaves for college and is yet to touch his four wheels on South Kitsap skatepark concrete. But construction on the skatepark’s first phase will begin soon. Nearly $200,000 in Kitsap County Park’s Department money and $108,000 raised by the local nonprofit South Kitsap Skate Park Association will go toward Phase 1, which includes a large skating bowl and a street course.

“It will start this summer, for sure,” Dunwiddie said. “We had some issues accessing a path in the permitting, but we are really close.”

Once the permit for the skatepark is completed, work on phase 1 of the skatepark is put out to bid. Dunwiddie said he hopes to turn some part of the bidding process over to the Skate Park Association, in an effort to eliminate some of the bureaucracy that has held up construction of the skatepark since the park was first proposed in 2007.

“Bringing them in (the skate park association) could expedite the bidding process,” he said.

 

On Monday, Dunwiddie announced to the Kitsap County Board of Commissioners that an application for a $132,000 state grant meant for Phase 2 of the skatepark, which includes an expanded street course and perhaps even lighting, was

received by the state. He told the commissioners that the parks department would run through a technical review of the grant next week so the department would be well prepared to answer any questions the state might have about the application.

 

Port Orchard Mayor Tim Matthes and Port Orchard councilmembers Fred Chang and Jim Colebank have been outspoken in their support of the park, some times even going to skatepark association meetings.

If Kitsap County receives the grant or a portion of it, Dunwiddie said SKSPA and the county would use funds for the required matching amount of the grant.

Reynolds-Taylor said the nonprofit would continue to apply for separate grants to begin saving for phase 2 of the project.

It has taken a long time for the county to realize the boost a world-class skatepark would bring to the community, Reynolds-Taylor said.

“People will make Port Orchard a destination spot if we have a great skatepark,” Reynolds-Taylor said.

 

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