Plans move ahead for Quilcene skate park

Jefferson County, volunteers seek grants

PORT TOWNSEND — Plans for a skate park next to the Quilcene Community Center are moving forward with grant applications due next month, but backers are still in need of a sponsor.

A group of volunteers is working with the Jefferson County Parks and Recreation Department to secure funding for a new skate park next to the Quilcene Community Center, part of a project that also will add a new bathroom facility with showers near the campground.

Working with the county, the volunteers are seeking a grant for youth athletic facilities from the Washington Recreation and Conservation Office which could provide between $350,000 and $1.5 million for the project.

The skate park itself is expected to cost about $500,000, said Brady MacDonald, one of the volunteers who’s been spearheading the skate park effort.

MacDonald said the effort grew out of community meetings about the future of the community center.

“A group of us came out of those meetings and said, you know, something that’s really missing is this space that kind of meets the need of young people who aren’t on the football team, who don’t fit into teen sports,” MacDonald said.

They started advocating for the park and began working with Port Townsend nonprofit StrongerTowns, which focuses on projects for local youth. But MacDonald said one of the conditions of the grant is the nonprofit organization has at least three years of athletic experience, which StrongerTowns doesn’t have.

The volunteers have approached the Olympic Peninsula YMCA, but MacDonald said they are still open to pursuing other sponsorships.

“I’m optimistic about it, but I am aware we don’t have the contract secure yet, so I am looking at and open to other options because, until we get that contract, we can’t move forward,” McDonald said at the Board of Jefferson County Commissioners meeting Tuesday.

“We’ve been in conversation and sort of trying to share the details and all of the information so they feel confident in supporting us with fiscal sponsorship,” he added.

Olympic Peninsula YMCA Executive Director Wendy Bart said the Y is already working on several other projects and will have to see if it has the capacity to add another.

If awarded, the grant would also cover other upgrades to the Quilcene Community Center property, including a new septic field to support new restrooms with showers to be placed next to the future skate park at the corner or Washington and West Rose streets.

Speaking to the commissioners, Parks Department Manager Matt Tyler said the project is moving forward and designs have been drafted using money granted by the county.

“Volunteers are going to get a fiscal sponsor. They’re working on that right now, and then they’ll apply for a new (Recreation and Conservation Office) grant,” Tyler said.

“It could be a great opportunity for them,” he added. “If it gets funded, it could move ahead quickly, so I want to make sure everything is coordinated.”

Last year, commissioners granted $20,000 in American Rescue Plan Act money for designs of the park. Preliminary design documents show the skate park being constructed along Washington Street in Quilcene immediately adjacent to the community center’s basketball court.

Tyler noted it is possible for the locations of the skate park and the septic field to be swapped in final designs.

The project is working with Grindline Skateparks of Seattle to design and construct the park. A community meeting at the community center on Feb. 6 regarding the skate park was well-attended, Tyler said, and the community has shown support for the project.

The proposed skate park would be roughly 7,500 square feet with a natural, organic shape that fits into the local surroundings, McDonald said.

The plan also includes possible changes to a building behind the community center now used for food bank storage.

Commissioners said they supported the project and offered to write a letter of support for the grant application.

Grant applications for the state’s RCO grants are due May 1, with awards announced in late October. Once funding is secured, MacDonald said the park could be completed within several months.

The group is prepared to raise private funds for the park if grant funds don’t cover the full cost of the park, but MacDonald said he hoped to have the project completely grant-funded.

“I really feel like we’re excited. A lot of people have shown up to do something for our little community,” MacDonald said. “It’s been a really fun and optimistic experience.”

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Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at peter.segall@peninsuladailynews.com.

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