Lower Woodlands, Seattle, Washington

Seattle has had its fair share of difficulties in meeting the needs of its resident skateboarders. For years the only options were a small, crowded park near the Seattle Center, a single bowl in the Ballard neighborhood, and a smattering of indoor commercial facilities. When the Seattle Center park was slated for demolition it was a rallying cry for local skateboarders. They lobbied the City and Seattle Center administration to communicate how important the skatepark was. The appeal was heard and they City promised that a new park would be built before the existing one was destroyed.

That didn’t happen. The demolition went ahead as scheduled yet even the site for the replacement park wasn’t established. Proposals were offered, including a relatively remote site next to a water treatment plant, yet the steering committee was firm in their expectations. Frustration was high and progress was low.

After a year of negotiation several sites were adopted. One site was inside the Seattle Center grounds and the other was in a large city park in the Greenlake neighborhood. Though neighborhood resistance was aggressive—citing noise and nuisance concerns—it was clear to most people that the park was the perfect location for the new skatepark. In an interesting twist, at one point Seattle Parks & Recreation proposed putting the new skatepark closer to nearby homes and it was the skatepark advocacy group that appealed for more buffer to local residents. They understood that a negative impact on people who live nearby would only hamper efforts to build other skateparks in the city. The Parks Department relocated the site to a better location according to the group’s recommendation.

The park was designed by renown skatepark pioneer Wally Hollyday and built by general contractor Sahli Construction. The park is 17,000 square feet and features a full compliment of terrain styles. It is considered one of the best in Washington more for its demonstration that the City of Seattle is willing to support its skateboarding youth than for its innovative design.

The skatepark advocacy group responsible for this park is hard at work on its next facility. Check out their progress on their Seattle Skateparks website.