Skate park funding continues to roll in

Published 10:11 am Friday, March 13, 2009

The proposed Ironton Skate Park took another step towards becoming a reality Thursday when the Child Welfare Club donated $1,000 towards the development and construction of the facility.

With the donation, Mayor Rich Blankenship said nearly $61,000 of the $100,000 needed for construction has been raised.

The skate park is currently planned for development at North Fourth and Etna streets.

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Child Welfare Club President Cindy Brown and Vice President Jane Griffith presented the check to the mayor during Thursday’s city council meeting. The check increased the total raised for the skate park past 60-percent of what is needed since the concept was developed in August 2007.

“Anything that can be put towards the betterment of the kids is our main goal,” noted Griffith who said the money was raised through a club sponsored talent auction and spring luncheon. It is the group’s first donation towards the skate park.

Thursday’s donation comes on the heels of recent news that funding for the skate park has accelerated in recent weeks.

Early this year, the city received a $5,000 grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation. Set up by the professional skateboarder in 2002, the foundation awards grants between $5,000 and $25,000 to communities looking to expand skateboarding within their region.

In November, the city’s recreation department was awarded a $30,000 grant through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources NatureWorks program. The grant allowed the city to allocate a portion of the monies to construct the skate park along with a portion of the grant to be allocated towards the Ironton Riverfront Park Redevelopment project.

NatureWorks projects are funded through an Ohio Parks and Natural Resources Bond Issue that was approved by voters in 1993. The grant program provides up to 75-percent reimbursement assistance for local governments and park districts for the acquisition, development and rehabilitation of recreational areas.

The skate park got jump started in July 2008 when Judge David Payne and the Probate/Juvenile Court gave a $13,000 grant to the city’s recreation department. The grant, allocated through the Lawrence County Department of Youth Services, is geared towards providing activities to help keep kids from getting in trouble with the law.

A benefit concert at Frog Town also raised more than $2,200 for the park.

Ironton Skate Park architect Shawn Walker told the city in 2007 that the park would be mainly concrete and have ramps built of steel. He said the price of the park depends on the amount of concrete and other materials used.

In 2007, then-Ironton Mayor John Elam and the Ironton school systems polled nearly 800 students as to what type of recreational activity they would like to see in Ironton. A skate park came in second after a water park.