A Minute with The Mayor, Cheri Farivar
In 1999, a grassroots effort arose to build a Leavenworth Skatepark. Parents, skateboarders and the community raised seed money of $17,500, then went to the School District who supplied the land. Together, they came to the City who contributed $50,000 by obtaining a grant from the Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO); a total of $67,500 was obtained and it was built. The RCO grant required a 25-year commitment and the Skatepark is now 16 years old.
Recently the voters approved the rebuilding of the high school, which needs every square foot of the existing land, requiring removal of the Skatepark. Thus, the District and the City began the analysis of how to best support the new school, the RCO commitment and the Community.
After some negotiation, the City and the District agreed to share in the cost of a new Skatepark. These financial negotiations were conducted in private as is required by law. However, there was an uproar from skateboarders from all over the Wenatchee Valley. Fueled with misinformation and anger, many skateboarders and a few parents attended the last City Council meeting and spoke out, attacking both the School District and the City for the lack of transparency in the decision making process. These folks are incensed that they were not consulted and encouraged to comment on the Skatepark removal prior to any agreement. Two of the parents were furious that they were not allowed to take part in the private negotiations between the District and the City. In truth, this was one of the most unpleasant public comment sessions I have ever witnessed. The comments were so critical and vitriolic that they brought two Councilmembers to tears. The bottom line is that these skateboarders are not really interested in a new skate park, they want to keep the existing one regardless of the fact that the new High School needs the land. (There is even an on-line petition, but you have to sign in support of proponents to make a comment, so anyone with a dissenting opinion cannot comment.) Interestingly, the petition is titled “Rebuild the Leavenworth Skatepark, which is exactly what the Council is trying to do.
So, your City Council has heard from many angry skateboarders from all over the area, (very few of which actually reside in Leavenworth). But, we haven’t heard from the overall community. Personally, I’m interested in hearing opinions and comments from you, the actual Leavenworth Residents I am sworn to serve. I’m asking the hard questions here. Do you agree that Leavenworth should strive to keep the existing Skatepark regardless of the hardship on the new high school building project? Should it be replaced, and where? Or, does Leavenworth even want or need a Skatepark? This is your chance to weigh in on the controversy. Go to our City website send an e-mail to your Mayor and Council. Or, call any one of us, write us a letter, or stop us when you see us in town. Better still, come to a City Council meeting and speak your mind. What say you, Leavenworth?
To submit a comment directly to the Mayor and City Administrator here is the link to the form on our City’s website: