JAMESTOWN – The City of Jamestown and the Jamestown Skatepark Project have been awarded a grant of up to $250,000 in matching funds to build a skate park as part of the Built to Play Skatepark from the partnership of the Tony Hawk and Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundations.
Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi and other officials made the announcement at Jamestown City Hall on Wednesday.
Officials said that the skate park would be a poured concrete structure that would be at the site of the former Jamestown Trolley building between the Chadakoin River and the West Third Street to Fairmount Avenue section of the Jamestown Riverwalk.
According to officials, the City of Jamestown community must raise at least $50,000 in matching funds.
The Tony Hawk Foundation, however, will be providing ongoing support and guidance with the fundraising, as well as the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation.
The Tony Hawk Foundation, founded by the skateboarder himself, Tony Hawk, was established in 2002. The Foundation supplies funds for public skate parks in areas with low-income in hopes for kids to find productive things to do in the summer to be fit and on their feet, in particular, by skateboarding.
The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, named after the former owner of the Buffalo Bills of the same name, provides and creates grants strictly to promote the lives of people in both Southeast Michigan and in Western New York.
The grants have a $1.2 billion slot over a period of 20 years. Because the grant was given in 2015, the one for the upcoming skate park will end on Jan. 8, 2035.
With the collaboration of these two foundations, Trevor Staples, the Built to Play Skate Park Manager for the Tony Hawk Foundation stated, “The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, is funding these grants of up to $250,000 and then what the Tony Hawk Foundation does is, although we have national grants of up to $25,000, most of our expertise is in the technical assistance.”
Staples also explained how the Tony Hawk Foundation is there to support the due process in the designing, developing, and building and programming afterwards for the upcoming skate park.
With the local effects of the upcoming skate park, Pete Scheira, the owner of Jamestown Skate Products, located at 209 Pine St., said, “It’s been very positive. It’s kind of strange, I did this 15 years ago in town here, when I was in high school at Jamestown, and it was tough, a way different perception on skateboarding.”
Schiera explained how the process became “smooth” once people started to warm up to the park.
“It was a fight to get that park going, once we got everybody on board, it was smooth. Then I moved to California and I did it there and there was a lot of resistance there as well,” Scheira said. “What a difference this has been. I have not had one ounce of negativity, just positive all the way through from the bottom to the top.”
Scheira also talked about upcoming plans to start events to raise money for the park, which he said he expects to start in June.
Jamestown Mayor Sam Teresi, among others, said he’s in approval of the skate park, as it would provide children with another activity to do.
“Well, like I said before, what’s good for kids, is the right thing to do.” Teresi said. “It’s another example that (shows that) Jamestown is real friendly, and we’re willing to put our energy, and money, where our mouth is, and make this the best place it can possibly be to live and raise a family. It’s an attraction that’s going to help bring people into town, and down to the river front.”
Teresi also explained how kids should spend more time outdoors, in order to enjoy the sunshine and doing things that are healthy and fun.
For more information on both the Tony Hawk Foundation, and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, visit www.tonyhawkfoundation.org and www.ralphcwilsonjrfoundation.org.
Fans of skating can also check out the Jamestown Skate Products website, jamestownskateproducts.com.