Grab your skateboards: The long-awaited skate park is set to roll next summer, thanks to a state grant secured by the city of Liberty Lake.
"The status now is that we have all the funding in place, and it's just a matter now of making that a priority for construction," Planning and Community Development Director Doug Smith said late last month. "Obviously, it's not going to happen this year, but it will be the first project out of the gate next year."
About a year ago, the city applied for a grant with the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Last summer, the city won the competitive matching grant for nearly $80,000 for the recreation spot, set for construction in Pavillion Park.
The total price tag for the 8,000-square-foot concrete park will be an estimated $175,000, according to city officials. Liberty Lake set aside matching funding for the project in this year's budget to make up the difference.
Over the summer, the final contract for the state grant was delayed because of the city's chosen spot: the sand volleyball court in Pavillion Park, a location that was somewhat controversial when the City Council approved it last winter.
The amenity was another state-funded project when Spokane County had jurisdiction of the park, city officials said.
"(We) had to assure the state that we weren't taking out a feature that was in heavy demand," Smith said.
The state agreed to award Liberty Lake the grant, minus the value of the volleyball park. The total award is $78,970, said Jessica Platt, the city's administrative services manager.
Another hang-up was the state's requirement of an archaeological survey of the site, Platt said.
"The ground has already been disturbed, but it's just one of those things," Platt said last week. The archaeologist's report had no findings, and Platt said she expects to get final clearance from the state in the next month.
"It is really exciting," she said.
The park - really called a "spot" because of its size and skill level, Platt said - may include about seven different concrete features, including ramps, rails and half-pipes. It's all above ground and designed for beginner to intermediate skaters, city officials said.
The city is looking at an entirely concrete park, which is less expensive and quieter than metal, Platt said. The concrete features also can be coated with a sealant that will allow any graffiti to be washed off, she said.
"It's in a well-visible area, (with) easy access for patrol vehicles to monitor," said Platt, adding that security cameras in the park allow police officers to review activity.
The idea of a skate park - the city's first - originally ramped up in 2003, when the city worked with a group of skateboarders to raise funds. That fizzled, but the idea was resurrected again in 2007, when Liberty Lake Kiwanis member Pat Dockrey and a community group called Liberty 5-0 got involved.
The Liberty 5-0 group, which includes skateboarding youth, helped with the design of the park and will volunteer labor for its construction. Liberty Lake resident Rob Weber said his 13-year-old son, Cameron, is getting anxious to start.
"He's a kid; he doesn't understand the government stuff," Weber said last week. "We're excited to get rolling."