A movement to bring a skate park to East County is gaining momentum.
At an Elma City Council meeting this month, Jordan Wolfe talked about her vision. She is a member of the city’s new parks board.
“We are looking for a space to incorporate a skate park that will also allow for some parking,” the Elma resident, mother and former skater said during the Jan. 6 meeting.
She has worked on the project for more than three months and is finding support.
“We’re still in the beginning stages of the project, but it seems like the ball is rolling,” Alec Beck, program manager for the Tony Hawk Foundation said via email. Tony Hawk, a former professional skateboarder turned businessman, launched the foundation in 2002 with the goal of helping young people.
To date, the foundation has helped build 31 skate parks in Washington state, Beck said. A lot of the help is financial, some of it is consulting, some design.
“Since its inception, the Tony Hawk Foundation has sought to foster lasting improvements in society, with an emphasis on supporting and empowering youth,” the foundation’s website says.
Wolfe has been encouraged by the foundation to get the project started. She needs to raise 30 percent of the money needed to build the park and the foundation is considering a grant for the remainder.
A skate park ideally would have 6,000 to 10,000 square feet, Wolfe said.
The Elma Council seemed to like the idea of a skate park in the city.
“My idea is to use that lot we own on 11th and Wakefield,” Mayor Jim Sorensen said. “The more things that we have for kids to do here in town, the better.” The city owns a lot on the southwest corner of that intersection.
In an email earlier this week, Sorensen added, “I am going to ask Council to reconsider 11th and Wakefield as a possible location.”
Wolfe skated while growing up in Newberg, Oregon, and while her children might not be old enough yet to skate, her oldest does use a scooter. She has a clear vision for a potential park.
“There could be a little bit of a bowl, there can be ramps, quarter-pipes, half-pipes,” she said. “It can be very basic to very elaborate, depending on what you fund for and what you can accommodate for space. I just think it needs to have some rails, and a couple of drop down ramps.”
The next step Wolfe hopes to achieve is to get the city to commit to a property for a potential park. After that, she will begin outreach, including finding funding.
“I need to get feedback from the kids and the community,” she said. She will be researching other grants that are available and potential government funding.
Some people might have a negative view of skating, but she says a skate park would help keep kids away from trouble.
“We’re in a very, very serious drug epidemic,” Wolfe said. “And kids don’t want to go home to that. So if they have a place that they can go to as an outlet for some of their feelings in a positive way, then they can go do that. … It’s a very positive release for emotions and physical needs.”
She hopes her vision will become a reality within the next two years. If you would like to help bring a skate park to East County, please reach out to Wolfe at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“If anybody has any better ideas for placement of this park that I could bring to the board, I would be so appreciative of that. If anybody could donate, or help me find other options for land within the city, that would be amazing,” she said.