Skating forward: Portage Family Skate Park gets grant

Wheels in Motion

By: Jen McCoy Daily Register

The Portage Family Skate Park will receive a $5,000 grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation once it can be matched by the group.

“We’re skating forward,” said June Paul, committee secretary for the PFSP.

Kyle Little, president of the group, informed members Tuesday of the challenge grant at their regular meeting in the Gerstenkorn Administration Building.

As of now, the group has about $32,000, Little said. The city budget allocated $30,000 for the project and through brat sales and other fundraising the group raised about $2,000.

“We need to get about $3,000 for the matching grant,” Little said. He encouraged committee members to approach area businesses for tax-deductible donations.

Hawk is one of the most well-known skateboarders in the world today.

The financial target is $210,000 for the completion of the skate park within the next three years. It would be located next to the new splash pad near Goodyear Park along DeWitt Street.

“The faster the money comes in, the faster it will get built,” Little said.

The sales of custom Portage Family Skate Park decks (boards without wheels), sweatshirts and stickers at events can only go so far, Little said, because it’s $40 here and 50 cents there.

“The money isn’t being held hostage. It’s going to be granted out to us as soon as we meet the challenge, so we’re calling on local businesses and other constituents to help us meet this goal,” he said.

The Portage Kiwanis Club is the 501(c)3 funding conduit for the skateboard park project. This step means that donations to the skate park are tax exempt and they also would qualify for grants to fund it during the three-year installation phase.

Todd Miller, committee fundraising coordinator, said a skate demo Saturday at the downtown Taste of Portage will help with visibility and education of the sport.

Although the group doesn’t have a vendors license to sell food at the event, it will hold a bake sale inside Prairie Flower Beads, 210 W. Cook St., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“There’s going to be a skateboard cake, pies, breads, cookies …,” Paul said.

The proceeds from the bake sale will go toward the matching challenge grant.

For people or businesses that would prefer to donate to the group online, the PFSP recently installed PayPal on its website.

“That’s a big thing for us,” Little said.

The Tony Hawk Foundation could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.