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Skate park still not done

"In the summer of 1998, after volunteers spent over three years of fund-raising and planning, workers began building the North Whidbey Skate Park next to Vanderzicht Memorial Swimming Pool. Now, in its third summer of construction, the park still isn’t finished.“It’s just annoying looking at all that dirt,” skateboarder Matt Kelley said. “I don’t see why they don’t just finish it. It’s B.S.”“It makes me angry,” skateboarder Chris Miller said.More and more Washington cities have built or are building skateparks, including nearby towns such as Anacortes, Bellingham, Everett and Mount Vernon. Terry LeDesky, the local architect who voluntarily designed the park, has directed the skate park’s development since its beginnings. He said that money is not the problem — an anonymous donor gave more than $40,000 to the park’s fund last Christmas — but minor hang-ups are slowing the process.“We’ve got the funding and the goal was to finish the concrete work this summer,” LeDesky said. “Unfortunately, it’s just an administrative problem right now.” LeDesky said he could not comment on the details of the problem.The North Whidbey Skate Park operates under the umbrella of Partnership With Youth, but the organization hasn’t dealt with construction issues.“We pay their bills, but we don’t really run it,” said Roosevelt Rumble, director of Partnership With Youth. “We oversee their bookkeeping, basically.”The construction of the skate park arose out of the need for a legal and safe place for people to skate. “I think our complaints in town have gone down since the park has been phased in,” Chief of Police Tony Barge said. He said most skateboarding, in-line skating and bicycling complaints come from pedestrians walking on sidewalks. A 13-year-old city ordinance bans skateboards and bicycles on Pioneer Way from Midway Boulevard to Ely Street.Barge said that he hopes the park will be completed soon. “When they first began we tried to give them some respectability and sponsorship so others would listen to their needs,” Barge said. “We were supportive because we decided it would be a win-win situation for everybody.” LeDesky said he also feels the whole community, from business owners to skaters, can benefit from the park’s completion. Even though construction is at a stand still, he remains optimistic. “I know there is progress in working out this situation,” LeDesky said. “It really needs to happen this summer just because we have these funds. That’s the drive — it’s go for it this summer.”"

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