Port Angeles expands skate park use; scooters, BMX bikes, roller blades welcome

PORT ANGELES — It is no longer a violation of city code to ride a scooter or BMX bike at the Port Angeles Skate Park.

The Port Angeles City Council voted 7-0 Tuesday to adopt an ordinance updating the parks and recreation municipal code to allow scooters, bikes and roller blades at the skate park at Erickson Playfield.

Maya Gentry, an 11-year-old scooter rider, had lobbied city staff and the City Council to lift the prohibition on scooters.

She attended the City Council meeting with her family to listen to the final outcome.

“I know there’s a young lady in the audience that’s very happy right now,” Port Angeles Parks and Recreation Director Corey Delikat said of Maya after the ordinance was approved.

Other code changes were minor housekeeping items, Delikat said.

Council members did not discuss the changes before approving them three hours into their meeting.

In a previous council meeting, Maya argued that existing rules were unfair to scooter riders who tend to be younger and deserve equal access to the park.

Scooters have caused no more damage to the park than skateboards, and allowing scooters would result in more adult supervision from parents, Maya said.

The code change was supported by Delikat and approved by the Parks, Recreation and Beautification Commission in October.

The city temporarily closed Port Angeles Skate Park after receiving complaints about safety issues and concerns over damage caused by BMX bicycle equipment in 2015.

Delikat said there had been a “major shift in the industry” in recent years where skate parks across the country have become multi-use facilities.

The code change also was supported by Port Angeles Police Chief Brian Smith and members of the Nor’Wester Rotary Club of Port Angeles, which helped pay for the skate park that opened in 2005.

“Although defined in [city code] as only a skate park, it has been difficult for the Port Angeles Police Department to enforce skateboard use only,” Delikat said in a memo to the council.

“Because of the increasing call volume, removing bikes from the skate park became a low priority. Because of that, over the course of the last 12 years, the park has been shared by multiple users.

“Today, there is a new generation of users that like to use scooters in the park,” the memo continued.

“They have become very popular with youth and at times outnumber the amount of skateboarders in the park.”

The park remains in “great shape” despite its multiple uses, Delikat said.

The approved ordinance also updates the names of former Georgiana Park to Quinn Redlin Kintner Memorial Park and Francis Street Park to 9/11 Memorial Waterfront Park.

Quinn Redlin Kintner was a disability advocate who pushed for accessibility improvements at city parks. She died at age 20 in 2010.

The City Council renamed the parks in March.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at rollikainen@peninsula dailynews.com.

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