Skateboarders have a wealth of opportunities to roll in Bellevue, with the new Highland Center Skate Plaza adding "street skating" elements to the mix. The country's top skateboarders gave the new facility a grand opening Friday in contests and demonstrations.
Elected officials on hand included Bellevue City Councilman John Chelminiak and state representatives Ross Hunter and Judy Clibborn. Hunter provided a surprise demonstration of his skating skills.
The Highland Skate Plaza, a 12,000-square-foot, lighted plaza features curbs, rails, stairs and "Jersey barriers," complements the 14-year-old indoor Bellevue Skate Park at the same location. Bellevue is also home to the Crossroads Skate Bowl, which opened in 2006, and the Lakemont Skate Court, which opened in 2005.
Top amateur skateboarders competed for $3,000 in prize money in "best trick contests" at Friday's celebration. Professionals with the Nike SB skateboarding team, which includes probably the most recognizable skateboarder today, "P-Rod" (Paul Rodriguez), offered demonstrations.
The $750,000 project was funded by a King County Youth Sports Facility Grant, the Washington Resource Conservation Office and Bellevue's Neighborhood Enhancement and Youth Link programs.
The City of Bellevue and Scion are the event's presenting co-sponsors. Other sponsors include: Nike SB, Trader Joe's, Talking Rain, Grindline Skate parks, YMCA Bellevue, Manik Skateboards (Seattle), Stussy, 35th skateshop, Trickwood Skateshop, Goods, Deluxe, Anti Hero, Real Krooked, Spitfire wheels, Thunder trucks, Force Trucks, Diamond, DGK skateboards, expedition Skateboards, Organika, Gold Wheels and Dirty Bearings.
The plaza and the grand opening are featured in a number of YouTube videos -- King of the Plaza and Highland Skate Plaza 2008.
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