By Jerome Tharaud/Havre Daily Newsfirstname.lastname@example.org
A skateboard park is nearly $25,000 closer to becoming a reality because of a grant from the National Park Service.
Bear Paw Development Corp. applied for the $24,900 Land and Water Conservation grant on behalf of the city of Havre last year.
"A skateboard facility for the youth of Havre has been a top priority of mine for a long time," Rice said Friday in a press release about the grant. "I hope the construction of the new skateboard park is a positive sign to the young people of Havre that they are important and that the City is listening to their concerns."
The skate park will be built on a pocket of city land just north of Patterson Park. The Havre Park and Recreation Department broke ground on the site in late May. The Skateboard Association and city officials expect that the first phase of the park - including a concrete slab, modular fiberglass skateboarding components, and a quarter-pipe running along the side of the hill - will be finished by the end of August.
Steve Evans, president of the Skateboard Association, said this morning that if the grant had not come through, plans for the park would have been delayed.
"We're very happy and grateful that we got it - jubilant, in fact," Evans said.
Evans said Rice is trying to arrange with local construction crews to donate labor to pour the slab and install the components. He said Rice is planning to look at modular components made by Rec Ramps, a Calgary-based company, before making a final decision.
Rice is in Calgary and could not be reached for comment today.
The application process for the grant, which uses National Park Service dollars to fund outdoor recreation projects, is very competitive, said Bear Paw Development Corp. executive director Paul Tuss.
"This was a grant (application) that was competing with proposals throughout the country," Tuss said.
The grant requires a one-to-one financial match, which has already been raised, Skateboard Association treasurer Charlie Grant said this morning. Grant said association members approached local individuals, businesses and organizations for contributions, and also got help from the Mayor's Ball fund-raiser in January, which raised about $12,000.
The grant "means that we should have our slab and our equipment," Grant said. "In other words, the skate park will be completed in late August."
Grant said the equipment will cost about $30,000 and the slab will cost about $25,000. He said the association is trying to get some of the building materials and labor donated to minimize costs.
Grant said this morning he was not surprised the grant came through.
"I thought it was a good chance we'd get it because the grant was so well-prepared by everyone involved," he said, adding that the association collected about 1,700 signatures on a petition and conducted a telephone survey to include in the grant application. About 70 percent of the respondents said they supported the skate park, Grant said.