News sk8er h8ers
posted by August 2 at 17:13 PMon
by Rebecca Tapscott
As summer news intern, my job description was largely focused on organizing the Stranger’s endorsement interviews. With those out of the way, my phone has stopped ringing, my checklist has diminished to a paltry few daily activities—and I am trying to suppress the fear that perhaps I am—shudder—no longer needed.
So today, Josh gave me a project. I went down to Seattle Center to check out a couple of the proposed sites for the skate park, and nose around for some local opinions.
The DuPen Fountain
The City Council’s initial promise slated the DuPen Fountain as the future site for the new skate park—and it makes sense. The area is out of the way, a good size, and right next to the VERA project. (As I spread my Seattle Center map in front of a Seattle Fudge employee, and discussed the different locations, he immediately pointed to the star over the DuPen Fountain and promoted it as the perfect location, for above mentioned reasons, and also the “beautiful afternoon light.”)
When I went to see the fountain, there were about ten kids splashing around, their parents watching from the sidelines. These parents would definitely be a part of the anti-skate park coalition, referring to skate park users as “hooligans” and citing potential “liability issues” for the Center. Although the fountain seemed adequately populated on this most beautiful of Seattle summer days, I couldn’t help but realize, this was likely a high traffic day for the fountain. On the 350 days of clouds and rain, I doubt anyone will miss the DuPen swimming hole. No matter where the city builds a skate park, someone will be displaced. On the rare occasions of simultaneous sun and heat, these ten kids can walk another block and join everyone else at the International Fountain (the one shaped like a concrete bowl).
Aside from those present at the fountain, it does not seem particularly well known. Employees on the grounds of the Center couldn’t help me locate it on my handy map… and in fact, it is not marked on my handy map, which includes labels for obscure landmarks like the “Kreielsheimer Promenade,” “Drop off & Valet Parking” at the Space Needle and “Café Impromptu.”
My opinion: The City Council should keep its word and put the skate park here, if only to show that politicians aren’t all scummy liars. Although the fountain is nice, they should use the funds for something other than constructing a replica of this particular fountain in another area. Seattle Center already has enough fountains. If parents are still concerned, let Nickels implement an added activities license to ensure safety.
Status: The fountain will stay where it is, sans skate park.
Broad Street between 4th and 5th
Currently, the Broad Street green belt welcomes visitors into the Seattle Center. A sort of neutral zone where all visitors—tourists, natives, immigrants, tourists, hooligan fearing parents, teens and toddlers and Stranger interns alike—should feel equally welcome. To give a particular population (in this case, skaters) ownership of a gateway to the Center is unfriendly.
Plus they’d have to cut down a lot of trees.
Status: Business interests block this site from becoming the future skate park location.