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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Art Vs. Skateparks

posted by on August 2 at 19:16 PM

Last week, there was an uproar over the city council’s parks committee’s recommendation to remove Seattle Center’s Du Pen fountain —located on the north side of Key Arena— and replace it with a skatepark. City council members were flooded with emails and phone calls from the arts community, neighbors and the Du Pen family, asking them to leave the fountain intact.

While the community outcry derailed yet another plan for the oft-delayed replacement of SeaSk8 —the skatepark formerly located just east of the center— members of the Skate Park Advisory Committee (SPAC), which was formed under the auspices of the Seattle Parks Department, weren’t upset about losing the Du Pen site. They didn’t really want it anyway.

SPAC has repeatedly cited Seattle Center’s Broad Street Green site—in the southeast corner of the Center— as the optimal location for a new skatepark. SPAC’s requests for the site have repeatedly been ignored, and Seattle Center heavies like the Experience Music Project and the Space Needle have made it known that they don’t want a skatepark at Broad Street.

According to Seattle Center spokesman Dave Hertel, if a new SeaSk8 had been built on the Du Pen site, the Du Pen fountain would have been reinstalled on Broad Street.

I called SPAC chair Ryan Barth earlier this afternoon to ask what he thought about the Center’s now-scrapped plans to install the fountain at Broad Street, rather than a new skatepark. “It doesn’t surprise me,” Barth said. “I think it just goes to show that people still think skateparks are not aesthetically pleasing places. They’re wrong. [Skateparks] can be designed as a pleasing piece of public art. It doesn’t have to be a concrete monstrosity.”


RSS icon Comments


And to think we gave up "Rocket to Mars" (the best, and saddest Fun Forest Ride EVER) for the EMP.....

Now see, I would be all for a skatepark at the Broad Street Green: A nice open space, accessible, visible - everything a recreational site should be. I would be pleased to sign a petition, or even host a neighborhood meeting to discuss it. I could serve coffee and cookies, and use the Ben Siebel coffee urns I only bring out on special occassions.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | August 2, 2007 8:09 PM

ryan barth for president.

Posted by kb & bc | August 2, 2007 8:39 PM

Man you people got totally schnookered by that Gheary (sp?) guy.

Posted by Fleeced! | August 2, 2007 9:09 PM

OK. You must have to 15-years-old to understand this thing but this whole fight seems quite insane. Tear out the fountain and build a fucking skate park and then rebuild the fountain somewhere else. Why? so tourists can bring their skateboards with them when they visit Seattle Center?

Posted by Touring | August 2, 2007 9:17 PM

You have a Ben Seibel coffee service?

Posted by Fnarf | August 2, 2007 9:49 PM

Samovars, actually, Fnarf. As you'd know if you'd paid ANY attention to my gracious entertaining page. They're right there, but I'm no name dropper.

Now, if you'll excuse me I'm meeting Madonna at the Four Seasons for the Prada show. If only I could find my Rolex....

Posted by catalina vel-duray | August 2, 2007 10:17 PM

Why dont we just let the kids use the top of the EMP as the skatepark?

Posted by andy niable | August 3, 2007 8:23 AM

top of the EMP? why not just take it out and replace it with a skatepark?

Posted by infrequent | August 3, 2007 10:38 AM

@4, the Center hosts HUNDREDS of thousands of non-tourists a year for all sorts of cultural festivals, music events, art shows, and public meetings. Perhaps you should check it out some time...

ALL -- What I don't understand is how people can go on and on about protecting a fountain as "a work of art" that seems to be used merely as a wading pool for little children and their parents every time there's a big festival at the Center. I think it would be better off if they moved it...

Posted by Mickymse | August 3, 2007 10:53 AM

So there was a perfectly good skate park next to the center, and it was torn out so they could build a fucking parking garage for the Gates Foundation. How come the Foundation or the Center didn't have to come up with a replacement site and plan BEFORE tearing out the skate park?

Why does the Gates Foundation get to say a big "Fuck You!" to the skaters, and get a pass?

Posted by Dr_Awesome | August 3, 2007 1:20 PM

I'm still waiting for someone to explain why the city has this duty to provide a skatepark at Seattle Center in the first place.
I'll admit it would be a nice thing to do but why is everyone acting like it's some sort of obligation? The old park was basically a gift. Are your friends obligated to replace the CD they gave you for your birthday 10 years ago when you scratch it? And...what are the skaters bringing to the table?

Posted by GeneJeanie | August 3, 2007 1:30 PM

@11- I believe it's required by an ordinance that laid out the details of the land sale to the Gates Foundation. In fact, the ordinance states that a new skatepark should have been constructed, or be in the process of being constructed before the old one was torn down.

Posted by Jonah S | August 3, 2007 1:49 PM

@11: Their angry moms.

Posted by Orv | August 3, 2007 1:53 PM

That's pretty funny Orv, but my mom hasn't weighed in on a place for me to skate since she talked my dad into letting us build a ramp in the backyard in '78.

Posted by sk8punk | August 3, 2007 3:21 PM

Nowadays, most cities and towns have recognized that skateboarding is a healthy recreational activity for people of all ages, and are providing facilities for skateboarding as part of their parks & rec programs. Seattle is supposed to be this modern progressive city. I can't believe how many people here still think skating is a passing fad for young boys and teenagers.

GeneJeanie, a large portion of the old park was actually paid for with private funds, but let's go with your gift analogy anyway. If your friend gave you a CD and then smashed it because the rich kid paid your friend to do it, would you be cool with that?

Posted by sk8punk | August 3, 2007 3:36 PM

sk8punk...OK...fair enough, private funds were used to build the park. Private funds mostly procured by Seattle Center on land donated by Seattle Center.
And, perhaps my gift analogy was faulty. How about this one? A guy builds a swingset in his yard for the neighborhood kids to use. After about 5 years, most of the kids who wanted it built decide the swingset is lame and start playing somewhere else. The man tears the swingset down when he sells the land to a rich family who wants to build a house. (And, honestly, he's glad to see it go because the only kids who use it anymore are leaving their cigarette butts all over his yard.) Is he obligated to build another, better swingset on some other part of his property to replace it?

Posted by GeneJeanie | August 3, 2007 4:39 PM

GeneJeanie, how 'bout yet another stab... Seask8 was torn down because the land was sold from under the feet of skaters actively using the park--Not because it was suddenly deemed "lame" and or unwanted.

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