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Skate park dream finally becoming a reality
Ian Wilhelm has been dreaming of a skate park in South Kitsap longer than South Kitsap Stake Park Association (SKSPA) President Leslie Reynolds-Taylor has been living here.
Within a few months, the dream will become reality.
Work continues on the South Kitsap Skate Park, where the grand opening is set for June 22, according to Reynolds-Taylor.
She made the announcement during the March 14 Town Hall meeting at City Hall.
For more than seven years, Reynolds-Taylor and Wilhelm, along with other community members, have endured countless setbacks, meeting, planings and fundraising for the new state-of-the-art skate park on the southern portion of the South Kitsap Regional Park.
Currently, Phase 1 and 2 of the project is under construction, while money is needed for the third phase which will include cameras and lights in the park.
SKSPA and the community raised $109,000 — more than the original $100,000 goal set by Kitsap County.
Once completed, the facility will feature a “full pipe” which will attract skaters from all over the world, noted Wilhelm.
“There are probably 16 to 20 skate parks in the world with a pull pipe, three in the state — Arlington, Kent and Vancouver,” said Wilhelm, also a SKSPA member. “The full pipe was a late addition on the original design.”
Wilhelm said the design of the new stake park is from a collaboration of skate parks in Silverdale, Gig Harbor and Bremerton.
“We looked at what we have in the area and at a lot of different skating and riding styles in the area for all types of wheels.” he added. “There were some things that looked good on paper, but didn’t work on wheels. We are creating as we go.”
The new facility will feature a 9-foot bowl, claw shell and street course. It also will have several rollover mounds and rails.
“This uses a lot of physics with weights and counter-weights,” Wilhelm said. “You can’t have a ramp that goes into a wall. You have to have something to throw the energy the other way.
Wilhelm said more than 200 yards of concrete has been poured to date, but expects about 1,000 yards of concrete for all three phases.
With the new facility, Wilhelm said he feels it will help develop some skaters and riders who could probably compete on the professional level in the future.
“The park will help kids improve their skating and riding abilities that will ‘go through the roof,’ ” Wilhelm said. “They will be able to travel anywhere in the world and skate or ride on some amazing skate parks.”
Reynolds-Taylor said a professional skateboarder from Japan came to Port Orchard a month ago and volunteered his time, along with Wilhelm, to work at the skate park.
Wilhelm works for Grindline Skateparks Inc. of Seattle, which won the bid for the project. He has donated all his working hours to the skate park project.
“The whole time I’m here, I am volunteering because we worked so hard to get it,” Wilhelm said.
Sound Excavating, Inc. of Bremerton, was subcontracted by Grindline to assist with construction and landscaping.
“This is the funnest job I’ve had,” said Joe Lockhart, who has worked with Sound Excavating for 30 years. “This has been a blast.”
Both Reynolds-Taylor and Wilhelm said talk about the new skate park is a hot topic among the ”skater community” and on the Internet.
“This is the talk of the skating world,” she said. “I think we’re going to have people from all over the world come here.”
Both Reynolds-Taylor and Wilhelm expect the skate park to host competitions for professionals and amateurs.
“This is not only going to be just a local thing,” Reynolds-Taylor said. “We definitely are going to have competitions here.”
Reynolds-Taylor said every day, groups of skaters and riders check on the progress of the skate park.
“They are drooling and licking their chops,” said Reynolds-Taylor. “They can’t wait until it’s finished.”
Reynolds-Taylor said she wants to find a graffiti artist to paint a mural on two of the walls at the skate park.