Youngsters in Sherwood will soon have a new recreational way to blow off a bit of steam: the Sherwood Skate Park, opening in September.
The park, over 13,000 square feet in size and located next to the YMCA, will boast many features for the young and not-so-young skater.
"It will be a new generation of skate parks," Craig Sheldon, Sherwood's public works director, told the Gazette. "It will be a destination spot for a lot of skaters."
The park features an area for beginners, as well as for those of intermediate and advanced levels.
"There's actually a doorway entry that's really cool for skaters to skate through," Sheldon said.
There is a need for a new skate park in Sherwood, city officials say.
"Skate parks have been around for quite a while," said the city's community services director, Kristen Switzer. "We are one of the only communities in the area that does not have a skate park. What we're finding is that many of the kids are having to go to surrounding communities, either going to Tualatin, Tigard or Newberg, (or) when you don't give the kids some place to skate, they're going to skate in the parks — and do damage to other property."
Sherwood isn't quite the size of those three nearby cities, but it is growing quickly, as Switzer noted.
In fact, Switzer said, the idea of a skate park dates back to 2006.
"At that time, there was a lot of interest from the community, from a lot of kids who were skating," Switzer said. "They brought it up to the Parks and Recreation Board, had a few meetings with the parks board, and even showed up at city council meetings."
Over 1,200 signatures were collected by community members encouraging the city to build a new skate park.
Fast forward a few years.
"In 2011, we applied for an Oregon Parks and Recreation Department grant, but we were not successful," Switzer said. "The project just got set aside. There wasn't other funding to support it at that time."
The project, however, remained a priority for the city parks board.
"Last year, we decided to go ahead and apply for a grant again," Switzer said.
After city representatives made their pitch to the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, a grant was awarded in the amount of $326,014 — covering nearly half of the cost of the approximately $680,000 project.
Money for the project also comes from city park system development charges.
Sheldon praised the work of the company hired to build the park.
"Dreamland Skateparks is very professional," he said. "They've done a lot of skate parks. There are only a few companies that actually build skate parks. We're very fortunate."
"The location is ideal," Switzer said of the skate park at 23000 S.W. Pacific Highway. "The new high school will be just across the way, across Highway (99W). Kids will actually be able to access the skate park from the high school — it's also located right next to the Teen Center, so we're really hoping that we can increase the usage of the Teen Center."
Switzer is excited to give preteens and teens in the Sherwood area the chance to do a local recreational activity without having to sign up for team sports.
"It's a great opportunity for kids that may not play programmed sports or may not be involved in other activities," Switzer said, adding that a skate park is challenging athletically and is good for balance and coordination.
Sheldon expects skate park maintenance will cost between $20,000 and $25,000 yearly.
"It will be maintained by the city as well as other parks within the city," he said.
A Sherwood Skate Park grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 14, at noon. Those who helped design and build the park will be on hand. Demonstrations will be performed.
Switzer and Sheldon are happy the project is nearing its grand opening.
Sheldon said, "It's nice to see something completed even though it has taken all the years to get it done."
Switzer added, "It's been a long time coming, so it's great to see it all come together."
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