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Silverdale skateparks might close due to vandalism

No one’s quite sure who’s doing it, or why, but skateboard parks in the county might have to close due to vandalism.

County Parks Director Cris Gears reportedly told Kitsap County Commissioners at a recent meeting that skaters’ parks in Kingston and north of Silverdale might close due to the damage because parks employees can’t keep ahead of vandals. Most citizen complaints reportedly came from the Kingston Community Advisory Panel.

“Historically, there’s been a problem, just because of the users (the skaters parks) attract — anything we build gets destroyed,” said Parks Planner Dennis Oost.

Patty Lent, county commissioner for Central Kitsap, could not be reached for comment.

Carl Johnson, president of the CK Community Council, said he has a special interest in the skaters’ parks.

“My grandson is really into skateboarding,” he said, “so I appreciate (the frustration) of the majority of kids who don’t vandalize, and their parents, at the damage that’s been done.”

He said like many arenas in life, the “few” spoil things for the “many.”

Johnson said, the CKCC worked closely with county parks and the Silverdale Rotary Club to create the skaters’ park just north of Silverdale, and will continue to work on the current problem.

Parks’ officials suspect the skaters themselves are the vandals, due to their “culture” of destruction, said Oost. NK county commissioner Chris Endresen reportedly thinks it’s the hangers-on, the watchers, who don’t skate — perhaps can’t skate — and may be destroying things out of envy, or boredom.

It’s been an ongoing problem, taking up more than its share of time and work, said parks’ personnel.

The park north of Silverdale is visible from the road but still off the beaten path, said parks officials — making it an easy target as soon as it gets dark.

There was no itemized list of damage available for Silverdale’s park, but a general list of damage to both parks included: porta-potties burned or blown-up (Kingston), wiring torn apart, signs destroyed, trees and shrubs driven over, pay phones damaged, trash cans trashed, and graffiti, lots of graffiti; in Kingston specifically, sprinkler heads in a nearby storm water pond were said to be ruined.

CKCC member Hank Mann-Sykes worked with the Rotarians, then CK Commissioner Phil Best, the Sheriff’s Deparment and others to build the Silverdale skate park.

“It took us eight years to pull it all together,” he said, adding he was angry at the county. “If the parks department is going to give us the permits to build these things, promise to maintain them, and then abandon them ... they should have had the funds to support them.”

No cost estimates were available for repairs.

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