On a stormy night in mid-November, two Peninsula High School students met with Chuck West and Key Peninsula Metropolitan Park District Director Scott Gallacher at the Key Center fire station to begin laying out a skateboard park design. With $100,000 in funding secured from the county through Councilman Terry Lee’s office, and $14,000 raised by West and peninsula youth through fund-raisers held over many months, coupled with approval from the parks board, the project is a “go.”

Making use of what is now a multipurpose (non-netted) tennis court at Volunteer Park, the new facility will take advantage of existing asphalt and fencing. The above-ground park design the workshop participants envision will accommodate both beginners and medium level skaters. Using composite materials and steel for the skating structures, West hopes there will be funding enough to also provide a cover for inclement-weather use.

Jake Marrero and Andrew Fallon, the two students present at the meeting, said a park of this size can handle 20 to 30 skaters at a time. They thought there were easily 200 skaters on the Key Peninsula. West said all skaters who are interested in joining in these planning sessions are welcome to attend future meetings. A second workshop is planned after the holidays, sometime in January.

“We want input from everybody,” West said. “The skaters need to have a say in the design of the park.” He feels strongly that if the people who will use the park are not involved, it will be just another project that adults (non-skaters) planned. Giving the kids a voice in design of the skate park gives them ownership in it — and a responsibility for helping maintain it, West believes.

That attitude of inclusion resonated with Fallon. He offered to provide scale models through his architectural design class at PHS. Marrero looked carefully at the proposed design, and said it would be great for skaters not to have to go to Gig Harbor to practice their sport. When asked if the skaters were part of a group or club, he said, “We’re just kids raising money so we can have somewhere to skate.”

Gallacher and West hope the new park will be “open for business” by mid-2007. They and Kurt Self, new president of the Key Peninsula Little League, are negotiating a move of batting cages from the tennis court to a grassy area now being prepared. The remaining tennis court will remain for the enjoyment of tennis buffs.

West said he still hopes to build a skate park at the 360-acre parcel that is in the process of being acquired by the KPMPD, but since the development of that park is still years away, he would like to get the smaller skate park off the ground now.

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