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Skate park construction to proceed

After more than six years of planning, the SunnyView skate park will finally become reality this year, Recreational Coordinator Joan Niemeyer told the Sunnyside Recreation and Community Center commissioners Wednesday evening.

A concrete slab, currently used as a basketball court, will be used for the skate park, Niemeyer said. That will allow the park to be flexible, with the modular steel obstacles able to be moved and configured into different variations depending on need and want.

"That would allow them to buy more equipment," said Niemeyer, noting that the pre-existing slab means money doesn't have to be spent to construct one. "I think it's a good idea."

Sunnyside Public Works Director Jim Bridges said construction is likely going to begin in April with the skate park opening for use in May.

"That sounds like a reasonable schedule to me," Bridges said.

Bridges said he had expressed concern with people in the skate park business that the concrete slab wouldn't be big enough to accommodate a good park.

"I was concerned that our space would be too small," he said.

But he said he was reassured that those spaces between obstacles are dead spots, and skaters prefer to have the ramps closer together.

Bridges also said that given the way the park is going to be constructed, it will allow for expansion of the park if people want it expanded in the future. Bridges said more concrete could be poured next to the existing slab.

The skate park, which has an estimated cost of more than $103,000, is being funded by a combination of grant money and donations, Bridges said.

A grant of more than $51,000 from the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program's outdoor recreation account will provide about half the money, Bridges said.

The other half will come from in-kind contributions to the city and money donated by people to the city.

This spring, the city will also begin demolition and construction on the tennis courts at South Hill Park.

Bridges said those courts were originally constructed of asphalt, a substance not designed to be used in that way.

A new concrete slab will be poured, and the existing fence and lighting system will be reused on the project, he said.

The replacement slab will contain five courts instead of the current four.

The $142,000 project is also being funded by a combination of grant money and donations.

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