SARANAC LAKE - The ongoing effort to build a village skateboard park received a major boost Tuesday when the Tony Hawk Foundation announced it has awarded the project a $25,000 grant.
News of the grant was posted Tuesday night on the "Saranac Lake Skateboard Park" Facebook page.
"We are ELATED and honored," Peggy Wiltberger of the Saranac Lake SkatePark Committee said in an email to the Enterprise. "We are hoping that adding this credibility to the project will encourage everyone to contribute what they can to the SkatePark."
Saranac Lake teenagers raise money for a skateboard park by washing cars in the parking lot of the Tri-Lakes Federal Credit Union.
Wiltberger said the committee needs to raise another $47,000 in cash and $26,000 in in-kind services.
"We are working with the village to break ground next spring," she wrote. "We really need to come together for the final push."
The local project was given the most money out of 11 communities across the country picked by the Tony Hawk Foundation to receive grants for construction of skateparks. The next closest, in dollars, was a $10,000 grant to Emeryville, Calif. The other nine communities were each awarded $5,000.
Saranac Lake's skatepark project was also featured prominently in the press release announcing the funding, which included a pair of photos of local kids raising money for the project: one of a car wash in the parking lot of the Tri-Lakes Federal Credit Union, the other of a barbecue outside Coakley High Peaks Ace Hardware.
The release describes Saranac Lake as a small town "that has rallied around its skaters and made their new skatepark a priority.
"With fundraising events like hot-dog sales, raffles, car washes, and even a teen band night, it was evident to the THF Board of Directors that the residents of Saranac Lake are willing to do just about anything to accomplish the new skatepark for their youth," the release states. "The dedication of the skaters and their supporters, and the small town's ambitious plans to create a substantial 5,000-square-foot concrete skatepark in the village center, convinced the THF Board of Directors to cast their votes to award Saranac Lake the highest grant award of $25,000."
Peter Whitley, program director for the Tony Hawk Foundation, said local skateboarders and supporters of the project have worked through several obstacles in their nine-year effort to bring a skatepark to the community.
"Through their dedication, generations of youth will have a safe, engaging place to pursue what they love in a community that recognizes and supports their investment," Whitley said in the release. "Saranac Lake's skatepark project is the kind of effort we are honored to be involved with."
The $25,000 grant comes on the heels of another successful fundraiser that netted the Saranac Lake SkatePark Committee more than $10,000. Over a two-week period in late July and early August, local residents donated $5,843 for the project at the Bloomingdale Avenue Stewart's Shop. The Stewart's Foundation will make a matching donation of $5,000.
"The design for the 5,200-square-foot, concrete skatepark is in its final editing," the committee wrote in an Aug. 10 letter to the Enterprise editor. "Its location in the midtown lot, behind Community Bank, will be convenient for our youth and draw visitors to downtown Saranac Lake."
Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.