|Park Concept Drawing|
On April 4, 2014, more than 1,000 thrilled riders experienced the inaugural skate as the gates finally opened to the long-awaited WJ Skatepark + Urban Plaza. The skatepark joined existing basketball courts and nationally sanctioned horse shoe pits under the cover of the I-105 bridge in Washington Jefferson Park, establishing a unique trio of healthy and active recreation. Year-round. Rain or shine.
WJ Skatepark + Urban Plaza is no ordinary skatepark and this was no ordinary journey. It is the collective vision of thousands of local youth for more than a decade. A 2004 petition to the City Council was signed by 1,700 supporters advocating for a covered skatepark centrally located in Eugene. With that, the chain reaction was set into motion. After a decade of persistence, the resulting world-class sports facility is a destination skatepark and universal hang-out spot for urban sports enthusiasts from all walks of life. It was designed and built by Dreamland Skateparks, with both beginner and expert wheels in mind. The half-acre skatepark features an iconic ribbon, a mini-snake run, and a blend of varied skate terrain.
In true Eugene fashion, the project didn’t stop with the country’s largest covered and lighted public skatepark. Prior to this renovation, the 40-year-old Washington Jefferson Park had become run-down and was plagued by mounting social problems and illegal activities. In turn, it was largely ignored by the rest of our community. However, its unique central location and existing cover of the bridge beckoned as the home for a new skatepark and provided an opportunity to breathe new life into the park. Washington Jefferson Park has gone from blight to a vibrant connection between the Whiteaker, 5th Street and Downtown neighborhoods - creating a strong urban core. The park’s additional improvements include accessible pathways, new restrooms, bike racks, benches, drinking fountains, energy-efficient lighting, landscaping, free wifi, public art, and areas to accommodate food carts and special events.
The total renovation of Washington Jefferson Park was an approximately $2.5 million dollar investment of public and private funds. The City of Eugene provided $2.2 million dollars in park system development charges (fees paid by developers when they construct a building or home) and received a $175,000 grant from the Oregon State Park and Recreation Department. Skaters for Eugene Skateparks, Downtown Eugene Rotary and Eugene Parks Foundation raised over $150,000 through private sponsorships, local art shows, concerts and more. The private investment has continued well beyond construction. This spring, more than 50 local businesses donated a percentage of sales on specific days to fund youth skate lessons, camps and equipment. Bringing this positive and active presence to the park will help ensure a welcoming and safe environment for everyone.
Next up is the Grand Opening Celebration on National Go Skate Day, June 21. It will be the first opportunity for our community to gather and experience what is possible when we work together to create solutions. Bring the entire family and enjoy a full-day celebration from 1-8 p.m. with live bands, entertainment, skate competitions, basketball, kids games, food carts, community/retail booths and more. Hop on LTD for a free bus ride to the event with a skate deck or bike and come meet the new and improved Washington Jefferson Park.
For more information contact Emily Proudfoot, Project Manager, 541-682-4915