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Repairs delayed for Raab Park skateboard ramps

A skateboarder takes advantage of the sunshine this week to ride at Raab Park. - Brad Camp/For the Herald
A skateboarder takes advantage of the sunshine this week to ride at Raab Park.
— image credit: Brad Camp/For the Herald

POULSBO — Eleven years ago, the sound of polyurethane wheels hitting pavement and aluminum alloy grinding against coping were common sounds at Raab Park.

Today, those same sounds can be heard echoing from the skatepark; but less frequently because of the decay of the features that make it a skateboarding destination.

Maintenance on the skatepark was set to begin by the beginning of the summer, but was delayed because Poulsbo’s Public Works department is understaffed, Assistant Director of Public Works Dan Wilson said.

“We are really short-handed right now,” Wilson said. “I had hoped to already have the park fixed up by now.”

The Public Works department is currently working at half capacity because two staff members are on sick leave and others are taking scheduled vacation. The department will soon start hiring temporary staff to pick up the slack during the summer, Wilson said, which is a common practice at this time of the year.

The park is still used, but requires a little extra maneuverability on the part of the skaters, owner of Bayside Engravers and skateboarding advocate Craig Hammond said.

A combination of the wet Washington weather and general use led to the park’s deterioration since it opened in 1999.

“This weather has really done a number on the park,” Wilson said.

A roof over the park could have helped extend its usefulness, but because the park was built with private donations from organizations like Poulsbo’s Rotary Club, there was only so much money to go around, Hammond said.

From a distance the most noticeable change to the park since it opened is the graffiti, which is now covered with a light-blue paint and does not affect the physical attributes of the park. A closer look reveals a few cracks in the cement and holes in the vert-ramps.

“It is more like skating on a sidewalk now,” Hammond said. “The people that frequent the park are used to it.”

Public Works’ general maintenance fund is used to keep up the park; to date the park’s maintenance price tag is about $26,000. There is no set amount set aside for the skatepark, but Wilson said he will be limited on how much work they can do.

The current fixes include replacing the lights and resurfacing the ramps and platforms.

No injuries have been reported and no official complaints made regarding the state of the skatepark so far, Director of Parks and Recreation Mary McCluskey said.

“The park has held up pretty well for being so old, the current state is not surprising since the ramps are made of plywood,” Hammond said.

Hammond worked to get donations for the park since deterioration of the wooden ramps began a couple years ago, setting up local competitions to raise awareness and bring in donations. With his effort, dubbed “Raab Park Rehab,” Hammond wants to encourage residents to keep the park up and running.

The music stage in Raab Park was recently given a makeover with help from the Home Depot and Windermere Real Estate to prepare for upcoming festivities this summer. Changes to parks such as Raab Park are based on public support, which is difficult to get to remake the park, Hammond said.

“Repair and maintenance definitely needs to be done,” McCluskey said. “But I really doubt enough funds will come in to remake the whole park.”

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