Bellevue will soon be a premier location for skateboarders, with the Highland Center Skate Plaza expected to be completed in March. To complement the 14-year-old indoor Bellevue Skate Park at the same location, the 12,000-square-foot, lighted plaza will feature "street skating" elements including curbs, rails, stairs, "Jersey barriers" and ledges.
Recreation opportunities in Bellevue will continue to expand this summer with the completion of the Crossroads Water Spray Playground in June. In September, the long-awaited Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center will begin offering one of the finest wetlands learning experiences anywhere.
While the Highland Center Plaza will be open to skaters and skateboarders as soon as construction ends, a grand opening is set for May 16. From 3:30 to 8:30 p.m. that Friday, there will be skating demonstrations and a skate contest. Refreshments will be available.
World-ranked skateboarders, in the area for a large national competition that weekend in Renton, are expected to perform at Highland Center.
The $750,000 project was funded by a King County Youth Sports Facility Grant, the Washington Resource Conservation Office and the Bellevue Neighborhood Enhancement and Bellevue Youth Link programs.
Bellevue is also home to the Crossroads Skate Bowl, which opened in 2006, and the Lakemont Skate Court, which opened in 2005.
Now half done, the Crossroads Water Spray Playground will be interactive, giving children of all ages and levels of physical ability the chance to play with squirting clams, orca whales, a floating granite world and more.
The city's funding partners on this project include the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary, the Recreation Conservation Office, the state, King County Parks and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The 12,000-square-foot Mercer Slough Center, to include a community building, classrooms, "wet labs" and elevated boardwalks will meet the high demand for education facilities for the 320-acre Mercer Slough Nature Park, the largest urban wetland park in the region.
Operated jointly by the city and the Pacific Science Center, the MSEEC has been operated out of a converted Parks building. Puget Sound Energy is a new partner on the project and is leading the fundraising effort for the expansion.
While the current facility could only accommodate about 8,000 students a year, the new center is expected to serve approximately 40,000 each year.
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