Ribbon cutting ceremony at LeMay Skate Park Oct. 29

Pierce County’s new state-of-the-art skateboard park will be a much-needed, welcome addition to the Parkland/Spanaway community. “This park addresses the local need for a safe place for kids to skateboard and in-line skate,” said Kathy Kravit-Smith, the county’s new parks and recreation director. “Before the park was built, local skateboarders were skating along roadsides and in commercial areas.”

Built at a cost of $675,050, the Harold E. LeMay Skateboard Park at Sprinker Recreation Center will be officially unveiled Saturday, Oct. 29 with a grand opening event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Kravit-Smith, who will serve as emcee for a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony at 12:30 p.m., will be joined by County Councilmember Barbara Gelman, who represents the area; Frank Urabeck of the Washington Wildlife & Recreation Coalition LeMay Enterprises President Nancy LeMay; and recently retired Parks and Recreation Director Jan Wolcott. The ceremony will be followed by a reception in Sprinker Recreation Center’s Rainier Room.

Parks officials and community members identified the need for a skateboard park several years ago. “The closest skate parks were nearly 10 miles away,” noted Superintendent of Recreation Scott Hall. Parks and Recreation joined with the local Altrusa Club to conduct a series of meetings with local skaters and interested community members to start the project moving. Design work was accomplished by Jon Ortgiesen, the department’s design and project manager. A groundbreaking event was held in October 2004.

Pierce County provided $220,000 for the project. In addition, a $275,000 grant came from the state Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation, and donations were provided by Nancy LeMay, $100,000, and the Altrusa Foundation, $80,050. The Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program worked with the county, and support also was provided by Franklin Pierce and Bethel school districts, Spanaway Community Action Network, Parkland-Spanaway Kiwanis Club and other local businesses and citizens.

Constructed by TF Sahli Construction of Seahurst, King County, the new facility is one of the largest all-concrete skateboard parks in the state, according to Hall. The 27,000 square foot facility features a 5,000 square foot beginner’s area. The intermediate area has fun boxes, waves, half pipes, volcanoes, and ramps. The advanced area features a peanut bowl with pool coping, a snake run, 10-foot vertical wall and a 14-foot clamshell. Bleachers for 180 viewers and six shade structures were included so that the park can host events and competitions. The facility includes picnic tables and an ADA pathway for the benefit of families and others in the community.

Hall said statistics indicate more children are skateboarding than playing baseball in the United States. Over the past several years the trend towards participation in “extreme sport” type activities is outgrowing traditional types of activities such as football, basketball and baseball. “Skateboard parks are being built in communities throughout the country to accommodate all the new participants,” he said.

Avid local skateboarder Ryan Kennedy has visited more than 150 skateboard parks around the U.S. and considers the Sprinker park at the top of the list. “The LeMay Skateboard Park is absolutely the best park I have seen so far. Skaters are going to come from all over to skate here. This is going to be a real gem for the county and good for everyone,” he predicted.

More information about the skateboard park can be obtained by calling Sprinker at (253) 798-4000.