Union Gap leaders mulling new skateboard park in Cahalan Park

Union Gap leaders mulling new skateboard park in Cahalan Park »Play Video
UNION GAP, Wash. -- Kids are putting away the snowboards and picking up their skateboards. Yakima already has two skate parks. Now, Union Gap's getting in the game, trying to raise the money to build its own. KIMA asked neighbors if it's a good idea.

Jerome Bagnall brings his son Jacob to the Chesterley Skatepark in Yakima about once a week.

"My son, he loves it," said Jerome.

So does Dad, a busy father of four. Skateboarding gets Jacob out of the house – no forms to fill out, no coaches to call.

"I think it's a lot better to bring him here than to have him playing it on the video games," Jerome said.

Yakima's Kiwanis Skate Park is another skater hotspot. KIMA found dozens of kids there passing the time perfecting their moves.

Union Gap leaders want in, raising the prospect of a new skateboard park in Cahalan Park.

According to city documents, City Council could vote Tuesday night to sign a $25,000 grant application to the Tony Hawk Foundation. The organization donates funds to eligible, low-income communities to build free, public skate parks. If selected, Union Gap would match the grant with $25,000 cash from the parks fund and $25,000 in kind.

But, with two skate parks in Yakima, does Union Gap need one?

"Do we have enough kids in our city that would actually use the skate park, effectively making the use of those funds a viable option?" asked Union Gap Council Member Mark Carney.

He says the final price tag could be as high as $145,000, stretching limited resources.

"I'm not sure that we have that ability to do it all, to do the building of a skatepark, to maintain the parks in the way that people will want to use them," Carney said.

Deborah Gonzalez lives down the road from Cahalan Park.

"The one over in Kiwanis does get pretty full sometimes, but I don't know how many more people are going to travel in this direction," she said.

Still, says Gonzalez, kids need a destination.

"It'd be better for them to have somewhere to go than to just be running the streets," she said.

The Tony Hawk Foundation website says competition for grants is "stiff" and that the foundation receives as many as 450 applications per year, with the majority requesting the maximum $25,000 grant amount.