Articles Archive for January 2009
Much like our own grants, Marietta’s recently acquired $73,100 grant from the Washington County Health Department must be spent by June 30th of this year. I attended a meeting today with The Downtown Task Force Committee and they really have some great things in store, but there still is allot of work to be done and money to be raised while own own grant deadlines are steadily approaching. With several fund raisers in the works you maybe receiving a call or email in the near future asking for you help. If you are like many people and just now learning about this project and would like to be involved, purchase a tee-shirt, or simply make a donation, you can always do so by contacting us at
We would like to thank every one for the great turn out last night. The newly formed Downtown Task Force Skate Park Committee got to meet allot of the local skaters, we got to meet them, and allot of great feed back and great sketches were shared as to what everybody would like to see built.
But what we have to focus on now is the most important thing of all, and that is fund raising. I know that nobody likes to do it. I know that growing up as a skater you look around and see all these other sports provided and catered to and you wonder, “Why should I have to spend my weekend at fund raisers? Why can’t they just cater to my sport like every other sport?” But you know as well as I do that life isn’t fair and that’s just the way it is. So what else can we do? I know none of us are going to quit skating anytime time soon, so lets all just shut up and cater to ourselves and make this thing happen already. The Task Force Committee is made up of some of the most influential people in Parkersburg and they are behind us 100%, so your time will not go to waste if there was ever any doubt.
- Alan Hughes
PARKERSBURG – For about 20 years there have been discussions concerning building a skate park in Parkersburg.In a meeting Thursday night at the Parkersburg Municipal Building, a group of about 60, half of them teenagers, was given an opportunity to let their preferences for the park be known through a survey from the Downtown Development Task Force.
Chad Mildren, chairman of the Downtown Task Force Skate Park Committee, said the proposed park could be built on a parcel of about one and one-third acres near the E.L.I.T.E. All Sports Center under construction near the Fifth Street Bridge. Mildren said the estimated cost is $350,000 and $44,000 has been raised to date.
In the survey one question was if skateboarders wanted a street style park or one with a bowl. A number of those present said they wanted street, but some older skaters in attendance said a bowl would be better and allow skaters to improve their boarding skills.
In the next two to three weeks grant requests will be made to foundations for funding, Mildren said. He said The Tony Hawk Foundation, created by famous skateboarder Tony Hawk, requires a grass-roots funding effort by those who will use the park to qualify. He added the grant application will require a plan for the park.
“They require that all of you participate in either the design or in a grass-roots fundraising effort,” he said. “They like to see the skateboarding community involved. We’d like to get as many ideas as possible for this.”
Mildren said the committee is confident it will be able to raise the funds by June despite the recession. So far, the project has received $25,000 from the Community Partnership Grant, $10,000 from the Wood County Commission, $5,000 in corporate grants and a $4,000 private donation.
Other foundations they plan to approach include the Parkersburg Area Community Foundation, the Sisters of St. Joseph, the McDonough Foundation, the Ross Foundation and apply for a Land and Water Conservation grant.
“We need $350,000 and that could be difficult with the current financial situation,” Mildren said. “We are committed to it and we’ll work hard to see it through. If it takes longer, so be it; we are committed to building this.”
Sen. Donna Boley, R-Pleasants, has requested an additional $25,000 to $30,000 in funding from the state, officials said.
Brewce Martin, who owns Skatopia in Meigs County, Ohio, said he was one of those involved in building Parkersburg’s other skate park in 1983.
“In the 1980s Parkersburg had the first skate park on city property in the country,” he said. “Parkersburg can be a leader again.”
Martin said the only involvement from the city was it allowed it to be built in City Park.
“There was a councilman who ran the snack concession there and he convinced the city to let us build,” he said. “We had to provide everything and build it ourselves. It was a wooden half-pike. I left Parkersburg two years later and over time it was not maintained and it began to rot. It was finally bulldozed (in 1988) for safety reasons.”
Mildren said the new park will always be open, will be in a highly visible area and while it will be lighted, it will not be policed.
“It will be up to you – the skaters – to keep it clean from graffiti and to keep it safe,” he said.
Mildren added the park will be only for skates, Rollerblades and skateboards. Bicycles and scooters will be banned. He said bikes damage skateboard facilities and a bike park could be part of a future second phase.
Former Parkersburg City councilman Jim Myers said the skate park idea was proposed by his late wife, Nancy, when she was a council member.
“It was on the backburner and I got it moved back to the front when I was on council,” he said. “Our kids deserve this.”
Just a reminder for everyone, we are having a big meeting tomorrow at 6:00 PM in the City Council Chambers of the Municipal Building. Be sure to at least stop by and show your support. Hope to see you there.