Tag Archives: Blayden Wall

Skate park goes green

by Pat Nelson
Reprinted with permission, The Daily News, Longview, WA 5/23/2008

  A sign stating “Tree City USA” now sits near three newly planted flowering trees at the edge of the lawn stretching gently downhill from Woodland’s skateboard park. In late April, City of Woodland employees and volunteers laid sod to convert the area surrounding the skate park from a muddy mess into a lush lawn.

I’m not a stranger to laying sod, so I was curious when I saw the pallets of healthy grass being delivered to Horseshoe Lake Park. My husband and I installed sod in our front yard in 2005 because of its ease of installation and immediate results. We also liked the idea that it would be less susceptible to weed invasion than a seeded lawn. Those were all good, logical reasons, but the main reason I wanted to lay sod was that I had done it once before, and it was fun.

My first sod-laying experience was 15 years ago when my son, Steve, bought a home. It was a hot day, and I remember being busy with the hose, watering the pallets of sod so they wouldn’t dry out and keeping the already-laid sod and the bare soil moist. Looking at Steve’s brown yard, and then at the pallets of sod, I couldn’t have predicted the rewarding transformation that took place that day, into a dense, green, healthy lawn. As Steve and I carried the sections of turf and placed one tightly against another, a beautiful lawn quickly formed. We were filled with a sense of accomplishment and pride.

Don Schmitt, owner of Far West Turf Farm and Circle S Landscape Supplies, LTD., made the grassy slopes surrounding the skateboard park possible by donating 16,000 square feet of sod. Schmitt’s turf farm and nursery, formerly located on Old Lewis River Road, moved to its present location at 35306 NW Toenjer Rd. a little more than a year ago. The Circle S nursery also has a location in Fairview, OR. Schmitt’s grass is grown from perennial rye grass seed produced in the Willamette Valley. The Port of Woodland donated soil to prepare the area for landscaping. Before laying the sod, City of Woodland employees graded the area and then applied fertilizer and lime on top of the finished grade.

At the skateboard park this April, frequent spring showers took care of keeping the sod cool and damp during installation, and sprinklers have been keeping it moist since then. City employees and volunteers quickly learned that when laying sod, it helps to be able to touch your toes; the task requires repeated bending in order to place the five-square-foot sections of lawn on the soil. The sod is grown in meshed net for support and to aid in installation, and it is cut into sections before delivery. Installers start with the longest straight edge, and work towards irregular boundaries. They fit the pieces close together, without overlapping, staggering the sections like bricks.

One thing I like about working with sod is that it is forgiving. If you need to move a section, you simply pick it up and move it. If you need to create a better fit or round a corner, you cut it with a sharp knife, a garden spade, or shears. Rather than disposing of the scraps, you can keep them damp for possible use later in the installation. These scraps can mean the difference between finishing the project or ordering more sod.

Once sod is in place, it is usually rolled with a half-full water-weighted roller to provide good contact between the roots and the soil, and to eliminate air pockets. Conditions were too wet for using the roller, so workers placed plywood on the grass to keep the soil from being disturbed when walked on and to help the grass roots bond. Large boulders from Kalama were placed around the grassy area, separating it from the parking lot where fishermen gather at the northeast side of Horseshoe Lake.

City employees Scott Summers, Paul Trice, Mark Sarvela, Brent Shelton, Jason Sloan, and Mark Cook, along with volunteers Ken Huston and Blayden Wall, worked on the project. The sod is in place, but that doesn’t mean the job is over for city employees. In a few days, the lawn will be ready for mowing.

The new sod completely transformed the landscape around the skateboard park. Brown soil almost instantly became a lush green carpet of grass, As it turned out, this carpet was rolled out just in time as Woodlanders gathered next to the new lawn to celebrate receiving, for the very fist time, the title “Tree City USA” from the National Arbor Day Foundation.

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Filed under Horseshoe Lake, Kalama, National Arbor Day Foundation, sod, The Daily News, Tree City USA, turf farm, WA, Woodland

Woodland Park is Skating Toward the Finish Line

©South County News/The Daily News

Thursday morning August 23, while many of those who use Woodland’s skatepark were probably still asleep, Glacier Northwest of Vancouver rolled into Horseshoe Lake Park to pour concrete, bringing Woodland’s 8300 square foot skateboard park one step closer to completion.

Woodland police officer Blayden Wall headed up the effort to raise funds to build a skatepark because he was tired of chasing skateboarders from parking lots, city streets, and sidewalks.  Money to build the park was generated by grants, fundraisers, and donations of time, materials, and funds.

Phase one, a steep bowl-shaped structure, was completed a year ago. Phase two, now under construction,  will offer stairs, rails, and flat surfaces.

Glacier’s light-blue truck sat near the still lake Thursday morning, purring softly. A maintenance worker in an orange jacket and yellow hard hat used a weed trimmer along the edge of Lakeshore Road. He turned to glance down at the project as he walked by.  Cars and trucks sped by on nearby I-5. Most passengers, headed for work or their vacation destination, were probably oblivious to the work going on just west of the freeway.

The robotic arm of a red Glacier truck raised and lowered until it was in the right position for dispensing the concrete. As it stretched and flexed its joints, it could have been auditioning for a movie part as a robotic monster.

A sharp beep sounded. The concrete mixer of the blue truck slowly turned in a clockwise direction, round and round. Rocks that would soon become part of the hard-surfaced skateboard ramps could be heard tumbling against the mixer’s walls.

A worker dressed in t-shirt, shorts, and rubber boots guided the hose that dangled from the robotic arm. Concrete from the spinning white tumbler on the blue truck poured into a chute on the red truck where it was carried through the hose held by the robotic arm. As concrete was dispensed, half of a Fleetwood mobile home, recently built here in Woodland, rolled by on Lakeshore Drive. 

Once the concrete had been poured, the long arm was swung to the back of the truck where  a worker secured the flopping tube.

After dispensing the concrete, the mixer on the blue truck reversed directions, slowly spinning counter-clockwise. A worker in an orange hard hat sprayed off his boots and then climbed to the top of the blue truck where he hosed off the chute that had carried the concrete to the red truck. The clear water became dark grey as it poured to the ground, being washed away so that it would not harden on the chute.

With spreaders on long poles, workers smoothed the concrete to create the finish that will become a place for Woodland youths to master tricks on their skateboards.

  

Sidebar

To learn the lingo of skateboarding

and to find out

definitions of words like:

 Backside

Carving

Goofy

Heel  edge

Kickflip

see www.skateboard.about.com

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Filed under entertainment, Horseshoe Lake, South County News, Woodland