President: Kyle Little
Art Director: Andrew Tamminga
In the Spirit of Giving Hope to youth and families in Portage and the surrounding area who are looking for more places close to home to have fun, The Portage Family Skate Park participated in the Holiday Parade this year. Thanks to the dedication and kind heartedness of Andrew Tamminga, Todd Miller, Debbie Little and Jayda La Rush, kids and their families were encouraged that Christmas Dreams and Hopes can come true. To keep the dream alive through this colder season, Andrew worked diligently at Who's Yer Painter on the chimney and did such a great job of it that it seemed as if Santa certainly could have slid down through at anytime! Todd and Andrew decorated a beautiful tree while Debbie and Jayda wrapped up some presents with care to place under the tree. A Portage Family Skate Park Deck was the final touch and the lights were lit! For a moment - until the generator gave out – but the lights were on downtown and the Holiday Spirit was seen, felt and heard everywhere! Andrew said there were more people downtown for the parade this year than he has seen any other year. He said he loved every minute of driving through the parade while Todd rode his skateboard and volunteers mingled through the streets handing out newsletters! It is such a great feeling having the support of an entire community coming together at such a magical time of year! Holiday wishes and dreams can come true but Santa needs all of our help throughout the whole year in order to build The Portage Family Skate Park. He said the letters are coming in from kids that they want a skate park and elves are working hard to make it come true! You can give a donation to the Kiwanis noting that it is for the Skate Park and let a skateboarder know you care! -June Paul
Debbie Little receives a check from Mark Venditto and Mary Lechner in the amount of $630.64 representing 10% of Sales on Tuesdays during the month of October. This is a very generous offering from Papa Murphy's. Thank you for supporting the youth in our community by giving to The Portage Family Skate Park Project!
Thank You Papa Murphy's!
WHo’s Yer Painter? LLC
Some times effective donations don’t
involve money at all, Who’s Yer Painter
has been a great bennefit to the
Portage Family Skate Park Project
through the donation of office space,
tools, supplies, and expertise.
Kudo’s to those who help any way they can!
Portage Public Library Community Presentation
- June Paul
Twelve people attended The Portage Family Skate Park Project presentation on Monday, November 18th at the Portage Public Library. Mayor Tierney stopped in to show his support and said he is pleased with the work the committee is doing. Police Chief Ken Manthey was unable to attend due to another meeting but sent a message to be read at the meeting which read:
“I am a strong supporter of the Portage Family Skate Park Project. I believe that this will be a very positive thing for the City of Portage once the first phase is built and the excitement grows to add on more phases. Skateboarding is very popular for our teenagers and young adults and they need some place to go where it is safe (the park will be much safer than skateboarding on a sidewalk or street)
The Police Department will have less complaints of skateboarders being downtown (which is against our ordinances because of the possibility of collisions between skateboards and pedestrians) and of damage being done to picnic tables, steps and any other “obstacles” that skateboarders would use as they ride around the city. Hopefully the skateboarders will take pride in helping to raise funds to build the skate park and therefore this will reduce the chances of vandalism.
The Skate Park will also benefit families that have children of different ages. The younger ones can go the Splash Pad and the older ones can go to the Skate Park while the parents can sit and monitor both locations since they’re adjacent to each other. The Skate Park is located in a central location in the City of Portage where it is monitored both by Police and neighbors who will take action if they see any kind of problems.” Ken Manthey
A young skateboarder came to speak from his heart at the meeting. He has stated that he is now skateboarding less because he does not want to violate the city ordinances. Accepting responsibility for not having always skated in appropriate places he said he thought perhaps the young skateboarders who had been looking for more challenging places to skate locally have made it more difficult on those who are trying to raise funds to get a Skate Park built in our city. He and his friends have now moved on to biking in large part due to lack of a park. They are looking forward to the Marathon next year and are hoping to participate in fundraising for the Skate Park.
June Paul had done some math and shared that according to a search on Manta there are approximately 1613 businesses in Portage and the surrounding area and about 10,200 or 10,600 residents in the city of Portage. She said if each of those businesses contributed just $131 the park would be fully funded. Or if each resident gave $20.60 the park would be fully funded. She gave Kyle a check for $20.60 saying "I hope it multiplies, Kyle."
Rita Briant, owner of Prairie Flower Beads and Kiwanis member was also in attendance. Rita said she has always been supportive of having a quality Skate Park built in the city of Portage and she believes that people in our community and the surrounding area need to be 'reeducated about the benefits of Skateboarding. and focus less on the things they fear. "Having a safe, family friendly park for people of all ages is the goal and the Skate Park will get built!" Rita was presented with a certificate of appreciation for being a SkateBoard Advocate.
Andrew Tamminga shared an encouraging short video about a neighborhood turnaround that resulted from a Skate Park built with the help of The Tony Hawk Foundation.
Dawn Foster was presented with a certificate of appreciation and a book to be placed into the library system for circulation titled: "Public Skatepark Development Guide" published by The Tony Hawk Foundation and written by Peter Whitley.
Mom, Why don't we all just pitch in and help to get this park built? Wouldn't that be better? I'll donate my piggy bank. And her little brother chipped in, 'I will too!'
This conversation was relayed to me by Brooke McGee when she and her children came to the Presentation at the Portage Public Library. The generosity and willingness of youth to give towards the cost of building The Portage Family Skate Park is worthy of recognition! - June Paul
Preparing this for the Christmas Edition of the Newsletter and looking at the title reminds me a little of the classic movie 'A Christmas Carol' and the adventures of a man named Ebenezer Scrooge. Bear with me as I reflect on this in light of The Portage Family Skate Park Project.
In the past we haven't had a majority of people in this community in favor of building a Skate Park. Some have been negative, many have been complacent, some haven't even been aware of the need so very few were supportive.
In the present we are having our eyes opened to the need for youth and families to have a Family Skate Park so there is a safe and yet challenging place for skateboarders of all skill levels to gather. People in the community are beginning to see what we have left undone, and what we are capable of doing. In the present we are holding events to raise awareness and to raise funds
In the future (hopefully very near future) we will be building The Portage Family Skate Park and perhaps then some group will organize and begin to raise funds for good causes, like feeding and clothing the poor in body, mind or spirit. Perhaps there will be a Skateboard Club that raises funds for college scholarships or medical needs, who knows what good things will come from this Portage Family Skate Park Project? - June G. Paul, Secretary
Look at our 2013 Recap! We've been a busy committee in the community!
Recap of 2013 Events and Important Happenings
City of Portage Support through Common Council, Mayor Tierney and Chief of Police, Ken Manthey
Support of Kiwanis Website Launch Canal Days Parade Taste of Portage
Labor Day Parade Sponsorship from New Life PT Sponsorship from Blau Chiropractic
1st Annual Skateboard Marathon Kid’s Safety Day O’Brion Agency Donation
Tony Hawk Foundation Matching Grant Challenge Brat Huts and Bake Sales
Blarney Stone Chili Cook-Off Papa Murphy’s Tuesdays DSH Matching Donation Program
Keith’s Recycling Aluminum and Metals Donation Teen Activity Night Library Open House
Library Informational Meeting Corner Pocket Pulled Pork Extravaganza
Holiday Parade VFW Chili Supper
"I just want to skate to have fun!"
The quote is from a young boy who was talking about why he wanted a Skate Park in the City of Portage. That's a good thing! More kids want to skate for fun rather then becoming a international competitive skater. While we have made references to successful international competitive skaters we are well aware that our Portage Family Skate Park is being built for most of the kids who 'just want to skate to have fun.!' As in any other sport, football, baseball, tennis, soccer, ice skating, hockey - there are more people who want to enjoy the sport for fun than for professional reasons. That's a healthy attitude for children and their families to take into this project.
- June Paul
By Brooke McGee
WE MET THE CHALLENGE!
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.
A Brief History of Skateboarding
From President: Kyle Little
Vert skateboarding took a dive in fame in the early 90s, but skateboarding still remained, though it became primarily street. It was then that Mike Vallely and Natas Kaupas came on the scene and pushed street skateboarding even further.
Skateboarding started to grow again in popularity in the 90's, this time with a more raw, edgy, and dangerous attitude. This coincides with the rise of more angry punk music, and the general discontent with the current system that raged throughout this time frame. Call it discontent, or call it Post Modern frustration, but the image of the poor, angry skater punk came to the surface loud and proud. Interestingly, this only helped to fuel skateboarding's popularity.
WITH EVERYONE COOPERATING TOGETHER WE
Build a Skate Park!
PFSP and Keith's Recycling teamed up on an Aluminum Can Recycling Project!
Save your Aluminum Cans
Bring Them to Keith's Recycling - Tell them they are for
The Portage Family Skate Park Project
Ask for a receipt stating you donated the cans to PFSP.
It's that simple!
Interview with: Peter Whitley, Program Director for the Tony Hawk Foundation.
The Tony Hawk Foundation spoke with the Portage Family Skate Park project at length Tuesday, November 12 in efforts to propel the park into reality all the sooner.
After being accepted for the Tony Hawk Grant Matching Program, Portage has been on the radar for the Tony Hawk Foundation. Peter Whitley, Program Director for the foundation, participated in the review of Portage’s application for the grant matching program.
“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.”
When. That word is key while the skate park continues with fundraising efforts. Because of Portage’s unique qualifications, Whitley spoke with a member of the PFSP in order to help develop a strategic plan to hasten the launch of the park.
“The Tony Hawk Foundation would really like to see the project broken down into smaller, more achievable goals for individuals who want to donate. People like to know how they contributed, they like to see the rebar they purchased or the bricks they bought,” Whitley said. “We really believe in this community, this project will see completion. We do hope that more local businesses step up to show their support. Unfortunately, that’s something we can’t force on our end. It really is mutually beneficial.”
PFSP President, Kyle Little, was pleased to have the motivational push from the foundation. “We are really happy to see that they are still as enthused as we are,” Little said. “We have not gotten discouraged, our support network is growing every day. Businesses are starting to realize that we don’t want to just be handed a check. We are willing to work tooth and nail for every dollar we earn. We hope more and more business owners see that. Fundraisers help the whole community. It’s about caring.
The Portage Family Skate Park project is backed by the Portage Police Department in addition to the local Kiwanis group. Recently, the Portage Daily Register printed a May 2013 article showing the support of Portage mayor, Bill Tierney as well.
“It gets kids outside,” Tierney said. “It gets them off the church steps, off the post office steps. Leave no child inside.”
Because of the enthusiastic encouragement provided by the Tony Hawk Foundation, the Portage Family Skate Park project wants to reach out to you, our community, to see what ideas, concerns or questions you may have. Feedback, comments and all opinions are warmly invited and can be submitted via the website contact link at portageskatepark.org.
Interview by: Brooke McGee
Author of the Public Skatepark Development Guide and Programming Director for the Tony Hawk Foundation- Mr. Peter Whitley
"Portage needs a safe place where skating can be supported."
Officer Robert Bagnall is no stranger to Portage Family Skate Park President Kyle Little. In fact, Officer Bagnall had personally issued citations to Kyle as a youth. Why? Because the athletic sport Kyle chose had lacked sufficient support at the time.
Without a safe, designated area to practice his sport, Kyle had chosen to do what many enthusiastic young skateboarders do- they take their boards to the street. Or to church steps, or to curbs, parking lots, back streets and even alleys.
The days of youthful impulsivity are long behind Kyle. Passion in hand, Kyle began working alongside the Portage Police Department and other local groups. His enthusiastic conviction remains and is now backed by city officials - Portage needs a safe place where skating can be supported.
Portage Police Officer Robert Bagnall strongly agrees with this mission. Throughout his numerous years with the department, Officer Bagnall has seen individuals such as Kyle grow from teenagers to determined, responsible adults- adults who now have a voice. United, these voices are growing louder, advocating that skateboarding is not only an accredited sport but a sport that is not going away.
As the Portage School District liaison, Officer Bagnall holds a unique position. One heavy responsibility Bagnall carries required he look out for the best interest of our local youth as a sworn officer. While doing so, he regularly hears the voices and opinions of our youth. Partnered with his determination to serve and protect Portage as a whole, his support of the Portage Family Skate Park project demonstrates the professional manner that the committee and their supporters have taken so seriously.
“These kids (skateboarders and bikers) want something to do,” Officer Bagnall states. “Right now the biggest problem is that there isn’t a place to do it. They HAVE to have a safe place, we aren’t going to stop them just because we don’t provide it. If we prevent it, it just gets shoved out of sight and that creates problems.”
Since the onset of the project, community members have contributed opinions openly and honestly. Those concerns have been and will continue to be shared with the Portage Police Department and city mayor, Bill Tierney. One such concern has been the upcoming location being a possible drawback. Police Chief Ken Manthey has publically questioned this opposition. “The park and the school have always been in this location,” Manthey stated.
Even more recently, the location was selected for the Portage Splash Pad. Goodyear Park, near downtown, is in the public eye. Additionally, the location provides convenient central access. Additional amenities in the same recreational area is expected to further encourage the park’s use for families with children of various ages. Is public supervision, a convenient location and a family-friendly environment something we should oppose?
“Kids are going to be kids,” Officer Bagnall insisted. “Let’s give them a place where they can go and no one is going to kick them out for going there. At the same time, they need to show us respect for providing it. Pick up your own trash. Respect the place. We want to give it to you but you need to show us you appreciate it.”
Recently, a local youth expressed his thoughts during a PFSP community presentation. “We don’t want to have a bad reputation. But we do want support. You can point out a bad egg in every group. Why are people focusing on the one or two negatives and not the dozen positive ones?”
Although not yet recognized as an athletic sport program by the Portage School District, voices continue to hope that the district will consider implementing a skateboarding and/or biking program. With the recent expansion of the District Wellness Policy, the Portage Community School District website states “The District will promote healthy schools by supporting wellness, good nutrition and regular physical activity as a part of the total learning environment.” In light of the upcoming skate park, what a positive opportunity it would be for the schools to show their support while encouraging safe, responsible practices.
Interview by: Brooke McGee
By Brooke McGee
At the Corner Pocket Bar and Grill, quality food and service isn’t just a wish, it’s a regularly provided service. On Tuesday, November 26, they did more than deliver as usual, they excelled. Hosting a fundraising event for the Portage Family Skate Park project, their “Pulled Pork Extravaganza,” drew in many. Regulars who had not heard of the event were happily surprised.
From four to eight PM, owners Mark and Reid Bellmore graciously dedicated their time and efforts to assist the PFSP. All funds raised were donated to the project to assist in fundraising efforts and to show their support and dedication to a thriving Portage area.
As a family-friendly business, the Corner Pocket was a welcoming environment for all ages. Moms and dads with children in tow, gathered together with Portage community members of all ages. Enjoying the food was only one part of the night. The encouraging mission of the fundraiser and the environment the Corner Pocket provides produced smiling faces all around.
For a few though, the night had more perk than they had anticipated. Door prizes, given on the hour to a randomly drawn fundraiser attendant, were excitedly accepted. From painstaking arranged “goodie baskets,” to a generously donated deckstool, those with their name drawn walked away pleased (and with a little more to carry!)
Special thanks and considerable gratitude is extended to the Bellmore family and their respected establishment, the Corner Pocket Bar and Grill. Because of the Bellmore’s generous spirit, the Portage Family Skate Park project is closer to accomplishing their goal. The support and backing of establishments such as this are the fuel driving the PFSP. Without community support, we would not be where we are today.
More opportunities are in the future for those who missed out. Upcoming events can be found on portageskatepark.org under “meetings and events.” Those who are interested in being a part of those events (or creating one to demonstrate support) can contact the PFSP via their website.
Thank you to all in the community who showed up in support, volunteered and donated time and resources. One very unique donation came from “Deckstool,” found at deckstool.com. As an environmentally conscious company, Deckstool creates artistic works of art from skateboards no longer in use from damage. Taking materials “destined for the landfill,” high-quality furniture and artistic pieces are created instead. As the recipient of one of these works of art, one young lady in particular will certainly be paying more attention to this earth-friendly company.
Many Hands Will Make
The Portage Family Skate Park a Reality!
We are looking for the following help!
Website Administrator - Videographer - Editor
People to Deliver Newsletters & Hang Up Posters
Event & Fundraising Volunteers
Businesses, School and Service Clubs to Partner with us in Hosting Fundraising Events
If You Can Help Please Contact us
Thank You for Helping!
Make donations payable to: Kiwanis
Memo: Skate board park.
c/o Rita: Skateboard Park,
Prairie Flower Beads,
210 W Cook Street, Portage, WI 53901
We also are Paypal Verified! PayPal is the faster, safer way to Donate.
"No child left inside" Mayor William Tierney Portage, Wisconsin
What size is our Skate Park Going to Be? Will it be Big Enough? Too Big?
Our Skate Park is expected to be about 75' by 110'
The Splash Pad is 30' X 30'
A basketball court is 94' by 50'
We think it will be a great size for our community AND it will be great for all skill levels!