DIY skate park built under I-405 in jeopardy

KING 5's Natalie Swaby reports.

A "Do It Yourself" skate park popped up more than a year ago in Renton, and it's been expanding ever since. The property owner is the Washington State Department of Transportation, and a spokesperson says, the state had no idea it was there until a few weeks ago.

Skateboarders who helped build the park under I-405 near Longacres Drive SW say it was once overgrown and filled with garbage. There were two cement slabs already on the property. 

Brian Foss and Jack Skeels said they went to work. With help from friends, they cleaned out the area. They added obstacles, ramps, and seating. 

"We started on our own, just funding it through our own pockets, and then the local skateboard community really did get behind us," said Foss.

Donations helped make the Longacres Skate spot a destination for skateboarders.

"It is just awesome that literally almost every week, I'll meet a new face or a new group of faces that drove from Port Orchard or came from Vancouver BC," said Skeel.

They say it is a place where they don't have to be quiet, and they have protection from the rain.

"We are underneath a bustling freeway and we are next to train tracks," said Skeel.

Now they are worried their dream park could be demolished. They received notice a few weeks ago that their skate park was illegally built on Washington State Department of Transportation property.

"We need to maintain access to the area to take care of the highway, but also, most importantly, it is for the safety of the skateboarders," said Marqise Allen, a WSDOT spokesperson.

"Obviously, they are just worried about the liability of having the park on their property," said Skeel, who added he understands that concern.

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"I think we might be able to appeal to them if they come down and see what it is like here," said Foss. "We are just concentrating all of our efforts into keeping this place alive."

Allen says it is possible the park builders might be able to lease the space from the state, but in order to do that there is permitting process and they would need insurance.

Foss says they want to meet with WSDOT to discuss their options.

© 2017 KING-TV


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