Skate park group to keep raising funds

With about $110,000 still needed to pay off the new Kiwanis skate park here, the committee has been brainstorming new ideas to raise funds in the New Year.
Skate park chair Rob Tovey said Thursday morning the committee has seven people lined up to participate in the annual “Polar Plunge” that’s scheduled for New Year’s Day on Sand Bay.
Among these “plungers” is Mike Alan, the new morning host at B93•FM.
Tovey noted the group may or may not raise much money doing the event, but felt it will be a good way to let people know the committee is still working away at fundraising for the new skate park.
Money raised by the “plungers” is split between the Lions Club and the respective charity they’re jumping for—in this case, the skate park.
Then in March, Tovey said the committee is planning to hold a dinner, social, and silent auction featuring local entertainment.
This would be followed by raffle tickets going on sale, with the grand prize being a boat and motor package. The draw is slated to be held just before the walleye opener in May.
Also that month, organizers are hoping to hold a skateboarding competition—the inaugural “Fort Frances Skateboard Open”—at the new park, involving judges such as pro skateboarder and skate park designer Andrew Kondrat of Barkman Concrete.
Tovey said the committee is hoping the competition draws youths from across the region. It will feature different age categories—and trophies for the winners.
Skateboarders will pay an entry fee of $50, which, in turn, will go towards paying off the park.
Tovey said this will be the first of many such events to be organized using the facility itself to generate revenue—first to pay off the bill, then to pay for any upkeep.
In the meantime, he noted committee members will continue to push the “Brick the Park” campaign to local individuals and businesses throughout the winter.
Bricks cost $100 each and will be installed to form a patio surrounding the skate park, with individual, family, or company names on each brick (or set of bricks).
While brick sales have slowed a bit since snow covered the ground, Tovey expects they’ll pick up again in April once skateboarders start using the park again.
This patio will be built next summer.
Anyone wanting to buy bricks, or simply make a donation, can drop by Skates & Blades (648 Scott St.), or call Tovey (274-6113), Patsy Roy (274-4244), Keith Knapp (274-7447), or Duane Cridland (274-7716).
In related news, the skate park committee still is waiting to hear from the town regarding its request for bridge financing and/or a financial contribution towards the park.
“I’m hoping it’s going to be favourable,” said Tovey. “We are counting on them helping us out in some way.
“It’s an ongoing thing,” he added. “We don’t expect the town to write us a cheque for $110,000, but we’re hoping to get a good portion of it through bridge financing.”
Tovey also said he’s heard of local individuals who are interested in donating labour and materials towards the park’s completion, particularly regarding the landscaping.
But details on this are still being confirmed at this time.
Looking back at 2005, Tovey said the committee finally got to see its dream become reality.
“It was a good year,” he noted. “We’ve done very well so far in our fundraising efforts. We’re just a small group of adults with some kids, and it’s a little harder when you have youngsters involved in your fundraising.
“I’m very happy with what we’ve done to date,” Tovey remarked. “As you can see, we have the park. And all things considered, there’s not really that much owing on it.”
The 9,500 sq. ft. skate park, located directly north of the Memorial Sports Centre, officially opened in October. And before the snow flew, it saw very frequent use by local youths.