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Grinnell Skatepark Fund Receives Grant From Tony Hawk


Grinnell Skatepark Fund Receives Grant From Tony Hawk

Tony Hawk has been the biggest name in professional skateboarding since he the late 1980s. Now, The Tony Hawk Foundation helps communities across the country build free, public skateparks. Grinnell is one of the latest recipients of Hawk’s generosity- a $5000 donation to help revitalize the Bailey Park skate area.

Imagine Grinnell is heading up fundraising efforts for the new, $250,000 state of the art concrete structure that will replace the small, temporary wooden ramps that currently serve the Grinnell skateboard and BMX biking community. Imagine Grinnell’s Director, Rich Dana is himself a former skateboarder. “Skating had an immensely positive effect on my life, and on millions of other kids ever since the 70’s. Skating and BMX are different from conventional team sports, in that you are limited only by your own imagination and drive. But skaters and BMX riders can only excel if they have a good place to ride.The Tony Hawk grant is a huge endorsement for our project. ”

Gail Bonath, Associate Professor Emerita at the Grinnell College Libraries, wrote the proposal that was selected by the Tony Hawk Foundation. “I saw a need in our town that was not being fulfilled for a particular category of youth. I am thrilled that I was able to write a successful proposal to the Tony Hawk Foundation.”

Tony Hawk, now 48 years old and still skating professionally, began his pro skateboarding career at the age of 14. The next year, 1983. He won his first national championship. He rose to fame through the 80’s and 90’s, coming to the attention of non-skaters when he won top prizes at five out of the first seven X Games. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater became one of the top-selling video games beginning in 1999, and Six Flags has even named rides after him. An enduring athlete and massively successful businessman, Hawk is also known for his  immensely positive impact on young people. In a recent interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune, Hawk said that “… I feel like skateboarding can be such a positive element in kids’ lives. I feel like it teaches them a sense of self-confidence and self-motivation that maybe they can’t find elsewhere.”  When asked about his foundation, he said that “The idea for the foundation was that I wanted to connect those dots and make sure that the skaters were involved in the process, the planning, even the building. But more so, that the funding goes toward needy areas. I felt like these facilities need to be in places where kids are really challenged and really at risk.”

Fundraising in Grinnell continues, and Dana is the first to admit that there is a long way to go. “It’s not a small project, but I think we can make this happen. But like Tony Hawk says, it is vital that we have the skaters and the BMX riders at the table through the whole process. We can’t just go to big funders asking to make this possible.Families of skaters and riders need to take ownership of this process to make it happen.”

Those interested in following the progress or assisting with fundraising efforts can follow the project on Facebook: @grinnelliaskatepark or on Twitter: @shredgrinnell

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