By Alan Sorensen
Parents and kids interested in the sport of skateboarding may have a chance to get something going in Havre. But they'll have to take the lead, just as soccer parents and hockey parents took charge of their field and rink.
Havre Mayor Phyllis Leonard said the city has land available that individuals and groups are welcome to develop into a skateboard park.
"We now can get insurance for it," Leonard said in a telephone interview this morning. "If they want to work with us and get the money, we have the land and we'd be willing to meet with them."
Leonard said the two locations the city has in mind for such a park are the back side of Eagles Park on east First Street and behind the old Kmart building on Highway 2 East.
"It has to be their project; they have to show ownership and take real interest," Leonard said. "Dave Wilson, our parks and recreation director, will be happy to have a meeting with them any time, and so will I."
She emphasized that the initiation, fund-raising and completion of such a project is up to the ones who might use and care for the facility.
Leonard said land just east of Eagles Park was donated to the city about a year or so ago by Lee Henderson.
"I thought that would be an ideal place to be, but that's negotiable," she said. "But I would like to have some place for the kids from Oakwood Village."
Leonard said that placing the skateboard park in east Havre would give some balance to Havre's parks.
"I think we have to consider all the kids in Havre and get our things dispersed so everything doesn't end up in the south end," she said.
A Havre attorney has already approached Leonard about doing what he can to help get a skateboard park going.
"There are some exciting things that could be done, but those kids would have to work and figure out ways and do their own money raising, just like the kids and the parents had to do their own money raising for the Ice Dome."
Leonard approached Montana Promise of Hill County last month to ask for help from that student group.
"We need to have the kids here in Havre saying, 'Yeah, we want to be involved,'" she said. "The kids at Montana Promise said they don't skateboard but that they'd be willing to help. I like to see that cooperation and pride in our city come out."
Montana Promise has information on a grant called Kaboom that for matching funds to build new parks or revitalize old parks. Someone would have to write the grant application and follow through on the funding.
Another source of help, she said, might be AmeriCorps volunteers.
Leonard said it is imperative, too, that youths maintain the park and treat it with respect.
"They can't trash it out like they do the lot by the Sixth Avenue ball park," she said. "We need cooperation from the kids, too."
People interested in rolling up their sleeves and getting to work on a skateboard park for Havre is encouraged to call Wilson at 265-8161 or Mayor Leonard at 265-6719.