Planning starts for Lake Stevens skate park

LAKE STEVENS — Plans are moving forward — albeit slowly — to build a skateboard park in Lake Stevens.

They’re moving forward because the city, Snohomish County and the Rotary Club of Lake Stevens are all in favor of building one. It’s slow because the economic downturn put a lot of projects on the back burner for a number of years.

After helping build the Lake Stevens Senior Center and the local Boys &Girls Club, the Rotary had identified a skate park as the next project on its wish list.

“It’s something the kids want,” said Gary O’Rielly, the president-elect of the Rotary. Recent growth in the city meant there were more kids, requiring more services.

A 2013 survey of parks in Lake Stevens identified several key areas that called out for future improvement.

Approximately 30 percent of people surveyed believed skate parks were necessary in the city, and approximately 17 percent believed skate parks were the most important item on the list.

And nearly 15 percent of respondents said they visited skate parks outside the city. Currently there is no skate park in Lake Stevens, the closest being in Marysville and Snohomish.

Cavalero Hill Community Park, located along SE 20th Street in the southwestern part of the city, has been identified as a possible candidate for hosting a skate park. The 40-acre parcel is under-used, being home to just two off-leash dog runs, and there isn’t a nearby bus stop, something that would be important if the park is going to be attractive to teens too young to drive.

A master plan was completed in 2002 for the park, which is owned by Snohomish County but lies within Lake Stevens city limits. The park has since grown in size.

Right now there are plans for new housing across the street from the park, said City Administrator Jan Berg. Cavelero Mid High School is also within walking distance of the park.

The city’s parks survey pointed to southwestern Lake Stevens as one part of the city that could use more amenities.

“We’ve got some pretty good park elements throughout. It’s about how we enhance them,” Berg said.

“But there is an obvious lack of parks in that area,” she said.

Working with the city and outside groups such as the Rotary will be key toward making the skate park happen, said Tom Teigen, director of the Snohomish County Parks and Recreation Department.

“Together we make a much more compelling argument when it comes to grant money and federal dollars,” Teigen said.

The money issue is significant. The cost of a skate park can range from approximately $60,000 for a bare-bones park with portable ramps and pipes up to $500,000 for a skate park with poured concrete features. An example of the latter is the skate park the county built at Martha Lake Airport Park in Lynnwood in 2010, the first in the county’s system.

The Rotary is setting aside $15,000 for the project, O’Rielly said. He doubted that the Rotary could have raised independently the full amount to finance a skate park.

An added concern is access: SE 20th Street has two lanes at the park and adding a bus stop would disrupt traffic.

City Administrator Berg said she expects that there would eventually be a bus stop near the park, but probably after the city completes the second phase of its widening project for the SE 20th Street Corridor, which would add an extra lane as well as other amenities such as bike lanes, sidewalks and turn lanes as part of the larger Subarea Plan.

Chris Winters: 425-374-4165;

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