A long-awaited replacement for the old skate park at Seattle Center has hit a bump. Skateboarders are urging the Seattle City Council to...
A long-awaited replacement for the old skate park at Seattle Center has hit a bump.
Skateboarders are urging the Seattle City Council to remove the “Fountain of Creation,” also known as the DuPen Fountain, and install a skate park in its place.
But Monday, the council decided to postpone the issue for two weeks, after a few members said they wanted more time to review other sites in or around the Center.
In January the Center skate park east of Fifth Avenue North and just off the main campus was torn down to make room for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s new headquarters.
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Councilmember David Della said his parks committee unanimously recommended the DuPen site after listening to the skateboarding community and Seattle Center. But on Monday a few council members said they are waiting for a report on plans for a major revamping of the larger Seattle Center campus.
The debate underscores the contentiousness of finding sites for skate parks in Seattle, not only over what residents perceive skate parks bring but over what they replace.
Area residents sued the city after it approved plans to construct a regional skate park in Lower Woodland Park after neighbors objected to creating a skate park on what is now open green space.
In the case of the Seattle Center skate park, the DuPen Fountain courtyard is one of the few areas of the campus for quiet contemplation. Located west of the International Fountain and north of KeyArena, the courtyard’s focal point is the fountain and its bronze sculptures.
The sculptures were completed by Everett DuPen for the 1962 World’s Fair and represent the evolution of life, with water as the foundation. Seattle Center renovated the pool in the 1990s.
The city’s Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs, which manages the DuPen Fountain, opposes its removal unless Seattle Center finds another place for it. Center officials say that is the intent.
Four nearby sites were considered before the Center proposed the fountain within the past month as a fifth option.
“I don’t know why this one came in at the last minute,” said Councilmember Tom Rasmussen, who was joined by Councilmembers Nick Licata and Peter Steinbrueck in seeking a delay. Della’s committee is talking about “ripping out a major piece of artwork at Seattle Center when there are other sites available,” Rasmussen said.
Destia DuPen Hermes, one of the sculptor’s five children, said the fountain is a popular wading pool for children and has stood the test of time. “I think it’s a very important part of art in this community and to think about replacing it with a skate park is ludicrous,” she said.
Scott Shinn, a member of a city skate-park advisory committee, said his group is eager for the council to OK the site.
Sanjay Bhatt: 206-464-3103 or firstname.lastname@example.org