Blaine’sskate park needs funding, upgrades

Published on Thu, Oct 26, 2006 by ara Nelson

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Blaine’s skate park needs funding, upgrades

By Tara Nelson

Blaine’s skate park is in need of serious repairs.
That’s what Birch Bay resident Brian Novak, 28, told the Blaine Parks Board members at an October 19 meeting.

“It’s missing screws, it’s rusting,” he said, referring to a few places along the threshold, or the sheeting that connects the skate ramps to the pavement, where the metal is curling upward. “It’s a good concept for a park but it needs repairs and modifications.”

Novak, a long-time skateboarder and snowboarder, said he would like to see the current riding surface, which is warped from weather exposure and curling in some areas, replaced with Skatelite Pro, a higher-end copolymer weather-resistant material.

He said he would also like to see steel filler strips between ramp surface panels to fill gaps and keep riding surfaces smooth and a more waterproof material used as siding, rather than the current plywood.

“Jon (Landis) did a really great job starting all of this but I don’t think the city’s ever had someone from the inside come in and say, ‘Hey, this is what a park should look like,’” he said. “The city needs to really involve the riders in the future.”

Landis, a Blaine police officer and resident of Blaine started the non-profit Blaine Extreme Sports Club in 2002 as a way to channel grant funding into the park’s construction and purchase of equipment.
The group was the first to receive a grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation in the amount of $5,000 and was successful in receiving support from various businesses and individuals in the community including Chris Freeman, Andrew Ryser, Steve Johnson Construction, BP’s Cherry Point refinery, Binder Construction, Kramme Construction, and the city of Blaine.

Four years later, however, community support for the park has dwindled and, so far, Landis has had difficulty securing funding for maintenance and repairs.

“Once the park was built, people just kind of forgot about it,” Landis said. “But the park is not going to maintain itself.”

Landis said he estimates the cost of improvements to the park will be around $5,000 per year to slowly replace the surface and add polyethylene ramp panels to wrap around the ramp foundations.
Novak agreed, adding that he has looked into various grant opportunities such as with the Northwest Parks and Recreation organization and the Youth Athletic Facilities Grant Program.
Still, Novak said some of the funding would likely have to come from donations from the community.

“We need money from the community to make this park better,” he said. “As skateboarding becomes more mainstream, more and more kids are going to want to do it. It’s a big thing for us as a business, as parents, and for the kids. It’s just not something we want to see go away.”

Individuals wishing to make donations to the Blaine Extreme Sports Club can call 360/332-9394 or visit the organization’s web site is www.extremesportsclub.org.

Donations can be made to “Blaine Extreme Sports Club” and sent to P.O. Box 3361, Blaine, WA 98231. Donations can also be made at any Bank of America branch under the name “Blaine Extreme Sports Club.”