The current skate park in Philomath City Park was constructed in 2000. (File photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

The 23-year-old skate park in Philomath appears to be on its way out with the city’s efforts to settle on a new design and perhaps even build in a new location. The community can provide input on the possibilities at a skate park design meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. June 28 at Philomath City Hall.

Chelsea Starner, assistant city manager, said during last week’s Philomath Park Advisory Board meeting that the city awarded a skate park design and feasibility study project contract to Grindline Skateparks, a Seattle-based company that specializes in such work.

“Part of why we liked them … they do some really large parks but they had done quite a few of these smaller ones and they looked nice when you look at their photos, their build process,” Starner said in the meeting.

Grindline has designed skate parks all over the country, including a few here in Oregon such as those at Myrtle Creek and Jacksonville.

Starner said Grindline will be in attendance at the June 28 community meeting.

“We’re also going to put out a simple survey out ahead of the meeting so they can have the results,” Starner said. “I had a kickoff meeting with them — really professional, know what they’re doing, really energetic.”

The survey can be accessed at this link.

Starner said the existing skate park at Philomath City Park will not be repaired with an entirely new structure coming in — that is, if the project can be financed.

“Primarily, what we’re looking for is something that the city can afford and that we can get fundraising for … the sky is now always the limit,” Starner said. “I think what we’re looking for is something that has more interest to it and areas for people to use scooters, skateboards, bikes … multiple products.”

Signage located at the Philomath skate park. (File photo by Brad Fuqua/Philomath News)

Questions about the current skate park’s configuration and safety have surfaced over the years, including a recent campaign by a local group to improve and update the facility. Many in the community have expressed support for the project through the signing of a petition and city surveys.

As for the location of the new skate park, Philomath City Park sounds like a strong possibility either where the current structure sits or maybe in another spot.

“We’re looking at different locations,” Starner said. “Some like the location where it is now because it’s close to the school, which is a plus, and there are bathrooms there. It may very well just end up back there.”

Still, the options will be explored.

“If you’re going to build a whole new structure, let’s look at the sites that we have (identified) and get some input,” she said.

A location within Philomath City Park on the other side of the creek was suggested by a park board member but Starner said wet soil and flooding issues could factor into those spots.

“I think a lot of their work is in Washington (state), so they are used to some wet areas, for sure, up there,” Starner said. “I think they’re going to be really good to work with.”

Last year, the state qualified for money from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department through its Local Government Grant Program and with a match from the city, funding became available to hire a company such as Grindline to assist with planning efforts.

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.