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South Kitsap Skateboard Park goes out to bid

Clifford England prepares to skate a rail at Impact indoor skatepark in South Kitsap. - Brett Cihon
Clifford England prepares to skate a rail at Impact indoor skatepark in South Kitsap.
— image credit: Brett Cihon

Following a series of delays, construction on the South Kitsap Skateboard Park is again within sight.

Kitsap County opened bids to build phase 1 of the South Kitsap Skateboard Park, located near the Corner of Jackson and Lund avenues in the South Kitsap Regional Park, on July 2.

Phase 1, which includes a large skating bowl and a street course, is expected to cost $308,000. The county is to pay nearly $200,000 to be combined with $108,000 raised by the local nonprofit South Kitsap Skate Park Association.

The deadline for prospective construction companies to submit a bid is Aug. 2. The winning bid must be approved by the Kitsap County Board of County Commissioners before construction can start, said Kitsap County Parks Director Jim Dunwiddie.

Dunwiddie didn’t anticipate any hesitation from the county commissioners when it’s time to approve the final bid, and said some “boilerplate” forms have already been filled out to expedite the process.

“We’re going through the details right now,” Dunwiddie said. “By the time we have the contract, we hope to get it moving.”

For months, the county has promised to get the project going as soon as all the red tape was cleared. Dunwiddie continued to “hope” construction would begin in September, but made no promises.

“I have no idea, we’re hoping something can happen in September,” he said.

The park has been in the works since 2007. A series of slowdowns, which lately included a Department of Community Development permit regarding crosswalks across Jackson and Lund to get into the park, have held up construction.

Things look to again be on track, according to Dunwiddie. The only thing that could stop the shovel from breaking ground now is if bids for construction come back much higher than anticipated, an unlikely but problematic scenario, he said.

“It’s tough to think if nobody bids on it or the bids come back higher than expected,” he said.

Kitsap County Commissioner Charlotte Garrido said she was excited something was finally happening at the long-awaited park. All the hard work put in by Leslie Reynolds-Taylor, the President of the South Kitsap Skate Park Association and other volunteers, put a personality on the skateboard park even before construction has started, Garrido said. Now Garrido just wants to see shovels sooner rather than later.

“I’m eager to see the next steps,” Garrido said.

Kitsap County has recently worked to form a legal partnership with the South Kitsap Skate Park Association, Dunwiddie said, so the nonprofit could handle sequential phases of the skateboard park’s construction.

A records request by the Port Orchard Independent show emails between Kitsap County lawyers and representatives from the Skateboard Park Association. Leslie Reynolds-Taylor, the President of the South Kitsap Skatepark Association, said a formal partnership is in the beginning stages, and the contracts needed to form a partnership are being drawn.

“It’s a slow process,” she said.

Reynolds-Taylor, who has served as president since the nonprofit’s beginning in 2007, said she’s “ecstatic” to see the skateboard park finally arrive in South Kitsap. She said two of the most poplar skatepark builders, Dreamland Skatparks and Grindline Skatparks, Inc., participated in a walkthrough of the South Kitsap site earlier this month, and intend to bid on construction.

Others are also happy to see the skatepark move towards completion, even if it took longer than expected. Gary Anderson, co-owner of South Kitsap’s Impact Skateshop and indoor skateboard park on Mile Hill Drive, said he would have liked to have seen the skatepark completed in 2006 when news about the outdoor facility first came out.

“I wish it would have been sooner,” he said. “It could have been a big help for us in the summer.”

Still, he’s happy kids will one day have an outdoor spot to skate in the summer. Clifford England, a local skateboarder sponsored by Impact, said the addition of an outdoor skateboard park in Port Orchard since an old wooden course was torn down at the South Kitsap Regional Park nearly a decade ago will be a big improvement. Now, he said, skaters will have both an indoor and an outdoor place to skate; a rare treat for a smaller city.

“I’m stoked,” England said. “We can have this (Impact) park to come when it’s raining, and the other one outside.”

 

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