FEDERAL WAY, Wash. — Skateboarders say the proposed site for a new Operations and Maintenance Facility in Federal Way is threatening a space they love.
The city was considering a few different sites for the facility, with Steel Lake Skate Park a top choice at this point. That has motivated people to speak up at City Hall.
David Waite has worked at 35th Avenue Skateboards for the last two decades, which is not far from Federal Way’s only skate park.
“To lose any kind of space like that, it's really just kind of a tragedy,” said Waite.
Waite said the space is much more than a skate park for the spot’s regulars.
“To them, it's like, all this space is sacred,” explained Waite. “Like they can't take this away. So, they were definitely pretty passionate about it.”
That passion was clear when Waite posted about the potential plans for the park on social media.
“It seemed like the community really just went crazy,” Waite said.
What followed was a long line of speakers at a Federal Way City Council meeting last month.
“I came here on behalf of the local skate community,” one speaker said.
Another speaker told city council members that the park “is important to my exercise and mental health.”
“I have been 10 years on the council and eight and a half as mayor,” said Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell. “I think this is one of the best public comments I think I have ever sat through.”
“It is not a done deal,” said Federal Way resident Suzanne Vargo.
Vargo wants the city to find a different location altogether.
“I hope they listened to the citizens for once,” said Vargo. “I hope they follow their growth management plan and get creative.”
Waite said there is talk at City Hall of building a new skate park if this one is removed.
A spokesperson for the city of Federal Way told KING 5 on Thursday that the city is not “permanently eliminating the park.” The spokesperson said the city “has already budgeted and planned to relocate and improve the skate park to an adjacent location.”
“I'm hoping the city sees it as the opportunity to create something in the Central Sounds," said Waite. "Like, here we could have this creative, artistic kind of space."