By Brooke McGee
It’s not every day you can double your money, especially when we are talking about thousands of dollars. The Portage Family Skate Park project (PFSP) though has done just that. Yup, that’s right, $5,000 morphed into $10,000 with the receipt of a single check. With the support and encouragement of the Tony Hawk Foundation and their Grant Matching Program, the Portage community is closer than ever to seeing our skate park a reality.
Peter Whitley, Program Director for the Tony Hawk Foundation stands behind our city with confidence. “We have seen world class skate parks built in small towns and we have seen large cities form parks that struggle,” Whitley said. “Portage stood out as having all of the qualities that we look for. There is no doubt in our minds. It’s just a matter of when.”
Truth be told, it certainly did not take just one day to double that money. The grant is known as a Challenge Grant for a reason- and a challenge well accomplished. Since August, the PFSP has been diligently working to match their end of the required funds. Thanks to local businesses, fundraisers, committee members, individual donations and volunteers, countless hours of devotion have been put into this success.
It may seem overwhelming at times to accomplish goals with financial numbers. Regardless, the PFSP has been “eating the elephant, one bite at a time,” and rather hungrily at that. There are more tasks ahead, so it’s great we are ready for more. By early summer of next year, $90,000 is the star we are shooting for. Unobtainable? By no means! We are nearly half way there!
Speaking of challenges, do you have one you want to present? The PFSP would love to rise to the occasion. A part of our philosophy is hard work earns just rewards. We are willing to work for this skate park, we have been extensively already and that work is becoming more and more recognized.
Challenges aren’t the only way for us to give local youth a safe place for athletics. The PFSP also welcomes, actually, ENCOURAGES, business-sponsored fundraisers. As a community project, PFSP also wish to give back to the community. By hosting a fundraiser on behalf of PFSP, not only are you raising awareness for an upcoming athletics area, you would be helping Portage thrive. With nearby locations such as the Wisconsin Dells, increased tourism in the area would undoubtedly benefit downtown businesses.
Allow us to extend gratitude in excess to the Tony Hawk Foundation, Director Peter Whitley and the countless members and businesses within the Portage and surrounding areas. Although we wish that individual expressions could be given to all who have helped with this success, we unfortunately do not have enough space to write it. On the other hand, it feels good to be able to say that. Despite this, the Portage Family Skate Park project website, portageskatepark.org, proudly displays those who have assisted in this endeavor under “Sponsors” and archived newsletters. We thoroughly encourage you to take a few minutes of your time to recognize the deserving businesses and contributors who you live among.