Back in the day – and I’m talking about the 1960s – skateboarding was just coming into vogue. I remember a cover of Life Magazine from that era with a picture of young guys with long hair traversing Lombard Street in San Francisco on their boards. Very Cool!
Lombard was – and may still be to this day – considered the crooked street in the world, and watching those kids fly down that avenue looked thrilling and exciting to we preteens in Upstate New York. We caught the bug, and a buddy’s older brother made me a board, using old roller skate wheels.
It was both fun and scary rolling down the hilly streets near our house and falling off and getting back up time and again. There were more than a few scrapped knees and elbows and a few tears thrown in. That was then, but now, of course, skate boarding is a legit sport and accepted activity for young boys and girls and many adults – who can’t seem to give it up! It’s also spawned its own language, with words and phrases like, you know, Get Stoked, Awesome, Insane, Nose and so forth.
Today, kids (and adults) can be seen all over the island skateboarding on streets, sidewalks, stairs and ramps. It’s an accepted activity – if not sometimes a bit annoying when a boarder comes flying up behind you on Winslow Way.
Some 20 years ago, the Bainbridge community acknowledged the popularity of the sport, and with the help of the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island, built the Rotary Skate Bowl at Strawberry Hill Park. Now a new skatepark is in the offing.
The design of the new facility will be presented to the public at the Nov. 17 board meeting of the Bainbridge Island Metro Parks & Recreation District. The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Bainbridge Island Recreation Center.
The 16,660-square-foot facility at Strawberry Hill Park will feature an expansive, open “street skating” area with ramps, stairs, rails and many other elements typical of an urban skating environment. According to the design, an undulating “pump track” will wrap around the skating plaza, allowing a long, continuous ride through momentum-building curves and bowls.
The park is planned for skaters of all skill levels, and will welcome not just skateboarders but roller and inline skaters and scooters as well.
The skatepark design is by Grindline Skatepark Design and Construction of Seattle, in consultation with a multi-age advisory group of Bainbridge Island skaters. Grindline has designed some 300 skateparks worldwide.
The skatepark will adjoin the 20-year-old Rotary Skate Bowl, renowned as one of the region’s oldest and best skate bowls for “transition” style skating.
Cost estimates are being finalized and will be presented at the meeting.
The Bainbridge Island Parks & Trails Foundation will lead project fundraising, with the campaign expected to begin in January.
“Bainbridge Island has generations of skateboarders, from those who brought us the first half-pipes in the 1970s to the kids who skate in parking lots and plazas today,” said Mary Meier, Parks & Trails Foundation executive director. “The Strawberry Hill Skatepark will vault skating into the future here, build on the great success of the Rotary Skate Bowl, and serve so many styles of skaters with a really exciting and imaginative space.”
See project designs and a fly-around video at www.biparksfoundation.org/skatepark. It’s Rad!
Images and information courtesy of the Bainbridge Island Parks & Trails Foundation
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