Seattle loses last indoor skatepark

Finding a dry place to skateboard just got tougher for Seattle skaters. Inner Space Skatepark in Fremont, the only indoor skatepark left in Seattle, shut its doors on Feb. 19.

“It was the only option in Seattle,” Seattle Pacific freshman Taylor Raecker said. “It was the only option for people who skate often.”

Raecker said there is a strong skateboarding scene in Seattle, despite the absence of a dry place for skaters to hone their sport.

“It was something to do when you’re not studying,” Raecker said as he sat in his dorm room, pushing one of his skateboards — shaped like a hammerhead shark — back and forth with his toe.

Inner Space was on Stone Way North in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, tucked in the back part of a warehouse called The Fremont Collective.

Plywood and Masonite skateboard ramps were strategically arranged throughout the warehouse, allowing skateboarders to speed from one ramp to the other. A 3-foot-tall half-pipe sat in the corner of the warehouse.

Black streaks ran up and down the warehouse’s walls from skaters pushing their boards against them to shake the dust off their urethane wheels.

During business hours, the sound of skateboards snapping against the concrete floor or grinding across a steel rail reverberated throughout the park.

Mike Martinez, former owner and manager of the park, did not respond to an interview request.

“The reason we closed is because we could no longer bring in enough revenue to keep the park open,” Martinez wrote on his Facebook page.

In December, the park’s staff threw a fundraiser to keep the park open. Martinez said the park’s landlord helped by letting them go months without paying rent.

Inner Space is not the first Pacific Northwest skatepark to shut its doors. Rain City Skatepark, a park that featured an 11.5-foot-tall half-pipe, closed its downtown Seattle location in 2003. The Department of Skateboarding, a Portland skatepark, closed in 2010 after nine years of operation.

Supporters of the now defunct Inner Space Skatepark have set up a Facebook page titled “R.I.P. Innerspace.”

“This page stands as a common meeting ground when we are in current shortage of such a place,” the page’s information section reads. “[Users can] keep track of friends and other skaters around Western Washington.”

Business leaders are already looking into the possibility of building another skatepark in Fremont, said Chris Dickerson, spokesman for evo, a snowboard and skate shop in Fremont.

“We were surprised by the announcement that Inner Space was closing its doors,” Dickerson said. “We have such a close, passionate skate community in the Seattle area that Inner Space helped cultivate and keep thriving. They will be sorely missed.”

The warehouse that housed Inner Space is managed by evo Properties, Dickerson said. Evo Properties is a separate business from the evo retail store, but the snow-and-skate shop’s founder is a partner in evo Properties, Dickerson said.

“While evo Properties is a separate business from [the retailer], we are collectively working together to explore options to get people skating,” Dickerson said. “We are actively working with our partners, vendors, friends and community leaders to hopefully be a part of a solution to get everyone skating again.”

For Raecker, this park closure is not the end of skateboarding in his city.

“I think Inner Space supported the scene a lot,” Raecker said. “But skateboarding still has a place in Seattle.”

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Title: Seattle loses last indoor skatepark | Author: Cory Minderhout | Section: News | Published Date: 2012-03-07 | Internal ID: 8099

Cory Minderhout

News Editor Cory Minderhout is a senior journalism major.