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The Scarlet & Black

Wes Finch helps skate park get closer to completion

Photo by Helena Gruensteidl

By Lily Bohlke

After winning Wes Finch Auto Plaza’s Facebook charity contest, the Grinnell Skate and Bike Motocross (BMX) Project is 1,000 dollars closer to becoming as good as new.

The Bailey Park Skate Park has been a second home to many youths in Grinnell who like to ride BMX bikes or skateboards. However, a renovation is needed to combat the short lifespan of wooden skate equipment. Local charity Imagine Grinnell has taken up the skate park renovation and is still raising funds to meet the cost of 250,000 dollars.

“We’re taking a two-pronged approach,” said Rich Dana, director of Imagine Grinnell. “We’re reaching out to some of the bigger businesses in the area and hoping to have them donate some larger amounts, and then we’re also working on a grassroots campaign, trying to get everybody involved so they can all help.”

Earlier this fall, Tony Hawk donated 5,000 dollars to the project. Wes Finch Auto Plaza has made an additional sizable donation, through a Facebook contest they run about three times a year. The contest typically features 15 to 20 charitable organizations competing for votes, which are Facebook likes. At the end of the month-long contest, a marketing company tallies up the votes and Wes Finch donates 1,000 dollars to the winner.

The Grinnell Skate and BMX project mobilized during the last week of the contest to get in some extra votes.

“We could have one organization be ahead with 50 to 100 votes midway through the month, then all of the sudden you get some organizations to get their people engaged and the votes going from the leader having 75 or 80, to a leader having 175 or 180,” said Jeff Finch of Wes Finch Auto Plaza. “And that’s what the BMX Skate Group did, they made a big charge the last 5 days and won.”

Although Wes Finch Auto Plaza leaves the decision all up to voters, even bringing in an outside team to count the votes, Finch said he is pleased with the outcome. He recalls the skate park as an important part of Grinnell youth culture, so he is glad to play a fundraising role for the project.

“There were a lot of [skate park] participants who after school or in the summer spent a lot of time up there,” Finch said. “Wes Finch Auto Plaza, we strive to help everybody who walks in the door and asks us for help and presents a good case, and particularly one that involves youth. My coworkers have kids in school as have I, and so we tend towards the youth whenever we can.”

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