EUGENE, Ore. - Almost 10 years in the making, a $2.5 million project to build the nation's largest covered skatepark and transform a downtown park plagued by problems begins August 1.
Washington-Jefferson Park will never look the same.
"This whole area is going to raise about three feet, and then we will have big deep holes inside here," Emily Proudfoot with the City of Eugene explained, looking at the park sheltered beneath on overpass. "There will be a half-acre skate park right here."
The custom-designed 23,000 sq. ft. skate facility will include both street and transition style skate terrain that will be ideal for skaters from beginner to elite.
Other planned park renovations include a new restroom, an urban plaza, vendor pads to accommodate food carts and events, pathways, bike racks, benches, drinking fountains, energy efficient lighting and landscaping intended to increase the sense of safety in this urban park.
Safety is a concern for the community and something city employees say they've addressed.
"Build a presence here on a regular basis, includes increased police patrol to the degree that we can provide it," Proudfoot said. "And then we are going to have an emergency call box."
"The more visibility down here - they like to keep in the shadows," said Jim Wear, who said he visits the park daily. "Better lighting more people and bigger police presence. i think its going to benefit everyone."
The project will take about six months to complete before the people of Eugene and other communities will be in skater paradise.