The Tony Hawk Foundation has now helped to fund more than 600 skateparks across the U.S. And thanks to a partnership with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, this latest round includes more than $1.5-million dollars to build free, public skateparks for youth in low-income communities.
The Built To Play Skatepark Program launched last Spring as a collaboration between the Tony Hawk Foundation and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. With access for youth to free-play spaces as one of its priorities, RCWJRF enlisted the help of THF to promote the construction of public skateparks in the sixteen counties it serves in Southeast Michigan and Western New York. The Built To Play Skatepark Program offers matching grants up to $250,000 to build public skateparks in the region.
Communities receiving Built To Play Skatepark Grants include Detroit, Ferndale, Ypsilanti, and Port Huron, Michigan, as well as Rochester and Amherst, New York. Each demonstrated broad community support for a public skatepark, and enlisted local skaters to participate in its development. This is a critical component of a successful skatepark, as the youth will be its primary users. “A skatepark isn’t just a place to go and skate for a couple hours,” said Jon Fulcher of the Alix Rice Peace Park in Amherst. “It is a place where young kids learn and define who they are. It is a cultural necessity to provide these facilities to the young kids of our region.”
There is an ongoing need to create spaces where kids can get outside and be physically active on their own terms,” said Jim Boyle, Vice President of Programs and Communications for the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “When you combine that with the growing popularity of skateboarding and the convening expertise of the Tony Hawk Foundation, we see a tremendous opportunity to use these investments to create healthy and engaged communities.”
The Chandler Park Conservancy working with the City of Detroit are planning to design and construct a new skatepark at Chandler Park over the next two years. Donations can be made to the Chandler Park Conservancy.