The official opening of Liberty Lake’s new skate park won’t happen until Saturday, but business has been booming at the small park since the city opened it last week.
The park is tucked into the northeast corner of Pavillion Park next to the basketball courts and the parking lot. One a recent day about 30 kids on skate boards, bikes, Razor scooters and in-line skates set their wheels gliding across the new concrete.
“It’s been like this since Monday morning,” said Pat Dockrey. “It’s been very popular.”
Some might call him the father of the park, since Dockrey has been the one pushing the project for several years. “I heard about it at a Kiwanis meeting,” he said. “It started about four, four-and-a-half years ago. The city has always been supportive. The biggest question was where to put it. We talked about a lot of different areas all over the city.”
The city finally decided to eliminate a volleyball court in Pavillion Park and put a skate park in its place. “It was really underutilized,” Dockrey said of the volleyball court.
Once the location was settled, the other hurdle was how to pay for it. Several community members made donations, but it was just a drop in the bucket. The city managed to land $93,000 in state and county grants for the project, leaving the city to come up with $82,000 in matching funds. Dockrey and his wife donated $5,000 to the project as well. “We decided early on to give them money,” he said.
The kids using the park seemed to be having a good time. They took turns on the most popular feature, a pair of ramps on either end of the park that allowed for a long glide over an element that allowed them to grind on a rail or just travel through.
A 4-foot half pipe was the domain for more advanced boarders and concrete benches installed as grinding elements were actually being used as benches as some took breaks between tricks. “The kids got together a couple years ago and did the whole design,” Dockrey said.
Kevin Crant, 12, was zipping down ramps on his scooter even though he owns a skateboard. “I don’t know how to ride it,” he said. “I don’t know how to turn.”
Kevin isn’t an expert on skate parks, but he was having a good time. “It rocks,” he said. “It’s the most fun I’ve had in a few months.”
Dockrey, who retired this week from his company, Dockrey Mechanical, spent a lot of time at the site with his camera during construction, documenting the process. He’s pleased with the finished product and how heavily used it is already. “I haven’t heard of any reports of any problems,” he said. “They seem to get along well. The location is good. There are always adults around.
“These kids would all be skating somewhere they shouldn’t if they weren’t here.”
The skate park is open when Pavillion Park is open and there is no admission charge. Helmets and safety gear are recommended, but not required.