By CURT SLYDER
October 4, 2006
Anhvu Le, 15, has been a skater for the past three years.
After school, he often can be found at
"I live right across the street," the
But news is starting to brighten for skaters who have complained for years about having no place to go. First, the church eventually plans to put the ramp in a skatepark as part of its $9 million community center, currently under construction. But the skatepark still needs funds to get off the drawing board.
Then there’s a project
That could be changing.
City officials have confirmed they will seek two grants totaling $625,000 to get the downtown skatepark rolling again.
The nonprofit Lafayette Parks Foundation last week submitted a $600,000 grant request to NCHS, the former owner of
Founded by professional skater Tony Hawk, the foundation gives grants of up to $25,000 to help construct skateparks.
According to its Web site, the Lafayette-based NCHS gives grants in
Skateboarding "is a healthy activity," Bumbleburg said. "It’s one of those activities that gets people out and moving."
The city had the Chicago-based
Lafayette skater Amber Casto, 25, is a full-time student at
Casto said the local skating community was disheartened last year when city officials announced the city had no money to build the skatepark.
The new information excited her. Casto thinks it could give the skating community a big boost.
"I think it’s going to be awesome," Casto said. "I think it could make a lot more people start skating."
Shown the conceptual design, Le had only one word: "Wow!"
Le believes the skatepark would fill a void in the community.
"We’ve been wanting a skatepark for like many years now," he said. "A lot of people would be there, people from out of town, maybe even out of state. That’d be cool to have."
Mayor Tony Roswarski agreed with Le.
"I really do believe we have an underserved population," Roswarski said.
Instead of waiting for city money, which could take many years to free up, the city wants to move forward with the project, Roswarski said.
Dylan Wierenga, 14, is a freshman at
Having a skatepark downtown would be cool, Wierenga said.
"We wouldn’t get kicked out of places," Wierenga said. "We aren’t allowed to skate on stairs."
But even if the city gets both grants, it won’t be enough. The city will still need about $300,000 more, because the overall price is about $1 million, Roswarski said.
If the city gets both grants, "then we’ll probably launch a private fundraising campaign," Roswarski said. It’s far too early to discuss a construction date since there are too many variables, the mayor said. "We just don’t know."
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