Boosters for Lake Stevens skate park aren’t skaters

LAKE STEVENS — The cause for building a skate park in Lake Stevens has been taken up by three unlikely candidates.

They’re hardly typical skateboarders. In fact, they’re not skateboarders at all. Only one of them has kids, and those kids are grown.

Tonya Christoffersen, 48, is a manager for the Lake Stevens Sewer District. Tracy DeLorm, 37, is a dentist. Julie Ubert, 28, is a supervisor for the Lake Stevens Police Department.

The women were among several others who started working on the campaign to bring a skate park to Lake Stevens more than a year ago.

While others have fallen off, the three women still are rolling along.

The more they’ve learned, they say, the more they’re for the project.

“These are athletes,” DeLorm said of the skateboarders. “They really have a passion for it.”

The women have been doing research — traveling to skate parks in nearby cities to see how parks have been built there. They also have been talking to skateboarders and have had drawings done.

They’ve made presentations to the City Council, the Lake Stevens School Board, the Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Merchants Association to round up support.

“It just shows you how dedicated they are to the community,” said Police Chief Randy Celori. “They’re all super people.”

The next step that has to be cleared is to obtain land for the park.

“What we would like is for the city to buy it” or donate it, Christoffersen said.

City officials are supportive, but have made no commitments. The City Council isn’t expected to take a serious look at the idea until January or February, Councilwoman Kathy Holder said.

The campaign did get a push start from some skateboarders who went to the City Council nearly two years ago and made a pitch. Afterward, Celori asked several people to serve on a research committee, including the three women.

Christoffersen and DeLorm were logical candidates because their work with the Lake Stevens-Granite Falls Rotary Club.

“The Rotary Club has wanted to take a big part in getting this done,” DeLorm said.

Ubert attended the first meeting of the group and was nominated to serve as secretary. At first she wasn’t so sure about the value of a skate park.

“I guess I had my own stereotypes, like society generally does,” she said, regarding skateboarders.

But since doing research and talking to kids, “I’ve done a 180, I completely support it. Skate parks don’t bring any more crime than any other parts of the city.”

The women understand the safety concerns. They say it’s the fringe characters, not the skateboarders themselves, who have caused problems with vandalism and graffiti at other parks.

The skaters, Christoffersen said, “all want the same thing ­— a park that’s clean and safe.”

The group is proposing that a new park have security cameras, like those that have been credited for reducing incidents around the skate park in Marysville.

Visibility is also important, they say. Either of the two spots under consideration, part of city-owned Lundeen Park and a parcel near Frontier Village belonging to a homeowners association, would satisfy that requirement, Christoffersen said.

Neither the city nor the group is saying how much the property would cost. Parks cost up to $150,000 to build, but grants are often available once the land has been obtained, Christoffersen said.

Holder said it’s too soon to assume a park will wind up at one of those two sites. More study on the location might be needed, she said.

Still, support for a skate park is strong, Holder said.

“It will come,” she said.

Reporter Bill Sheets: 425-339-3439 or sheets@heraldnet.com.

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