The Scarlet & Black

The Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Tony Hawk to help fund new skate park

Contributed photo

By Carter Howe

The Tony Hawk Foundation has recently donated to the local charity Imagine Grinnell to help with efforts to renovate the Bailey Park Skate Park. Imagine Grinnell received the 5,000 dollar donation after their grant proposal, written by Gail Bonath, Associate Professor Emerita, was accepted.


“The Tony Hawk foundation provides funding for skate parks all around the country. … Gail Bonath from the College wrote the proposal, and she did a really great job of laying out the case for our community needing a new skate park. We have a skate park, but it’s in very poor repair,” said Rich Dana, Director of Imagine Grinnell.


Under the plans for renovation, the park’s current wooden ramps and other features will be replaced with concrete elements, which will allow the park to last for decades to come. The renovation will also have more complex elements, such as a bowl and grind rails.


“It’s all concrete. It’s got a bowl, it’s got steps and grind rails and a ramp and a whole bunch of stuff. … It’s a capital improvement that will continue to be something that people can enjoy for generations to come,” Dana said.


Dana says he expects construction to begin in summer 2017 and planning to begin once Imagine Grinnell has raised 60 percent of the necessary funding. Thus far, Imagine Grinnell has raised 25 percent of their goal. The renovation is expected to cost 250,000 dollars and though Dana is grateful for the Tony Hawk Foundation’s donation, there is still much fundraising to be done.


“It’s not an insignificant amount. It’s certainly a lot of help, and we appreciate it, but we’ve still got a long ways to go,” Dana said.


The park will be designed by Spohn Ranch, which is owned by skateboarders and has a reputation for building high quality skate parks. Because of their quality, he expects the park will attract skaters from outside Grinnell as well.


“Well for one thing it’s going to be built by Spohn Ranch from California. It’s a skateboarder owned and operated company that builds what are considered to be the best skate parks in the world, so there are few of them in the state of Iowa, but it definitely is the kind of thing where skaters will you know drive from town to town to ride several different unique Spohn Ranch skate parks in a day,” Dana said.


To secure funds for the project, Dana says they are reaching out to local employers and planning events, such as a skateboard demo with pro skateboarders, a raffle with skate and bicycle motocross (BMX) equipment and an all-ages concert to raise funds and awareness for the project.


Drawing from his own life, Dana also said that skate culture has a positive influence on young people and that the renovated park will give youth who aren’t interested in conventional sports a space to be themselves.


“I grew up as a skateboarder, and skate culture really changed my life for the better, and I know for a lot of people who don’t participate necessarily in team sports or other organized activities that skating and BMX riding is a really super positive experience in people’s lives,” Dana said. “The benefits it has for young people in terms of self-identity and everything else, I just think it’s super important.”


Dana also hopes that students and others at the College will help in the effort.


“We’re also just hoping to build support on campus among people who either are skaters or BMX riders. … It would be great to, you know, maybe do some kind of campus fundraising effort or have members of the campus community participate in the stuff that we are doing.”


Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *