Skaters too eager for Lynnwood park to open

LYNNWOOD — The sleek new concrete ramps sit behind a chain-link fence.

Graffiti mars the side of one.

Bottles from energy drinks litter the ground. A metal construction spike pierces empty beer cans, like shrimp on a barbecue spit.

Teenagers have been here.

While Martha Lake Airport Community Park won’t open until this summer, the addition of a street-style skate park has proved too tempting. Some skaters have leapt fences and disregarded signs to get a first crack at the place.

The county has made efforts to keep them out. Along with fencing, much of the park is covered by plastic sheets held in place by orange sandbags.

Skaters can move those, however, so Snohomish County employees may soon put down vinyl sheeting and strategically placed dirt mounds.

“That would keep everyone off,” said Tom Teigen, Snohomish County parks director.

Neighbors said the precautions are needed.

Jen Melle, 38, lives about a half-mile from the park. She’s not too worried about the spot attracting a bad element. Instead, she’s concerned skaters may injure themselves before it opens, stumbling on construction debris.

The neighborhood is overdue for a park, she said. She didn’t begrudge the over-anxious skaters for using it.

“That’s bound to happen,” she said. “It just needs to be completely shut off until it’s all completely cleaned up.”

The park, which also will include picnic areas and athletic fields, is located on a 29-acre strip of land just east of I-5 that once was used as an airport.

The county bought the land in 2000 from the family that ran the airport. Design on the $3.1 million park began about six years ago. A groundbreaking took place in February 2009.

Crews put their work on hold this winter, to avoid weather complications. They may resume construction in mid-April, finishing off skate ramps and seeding baseball and soccer fields.

The park may be ready by June or early July.

“We’re excited about opening it,” Teigen said, “but it’s not open now.”

Andy Rathbun: 425-339-3455,

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