Ann Arbor skatepark supporters raise money at bake sale
Angela J. Cesere | AnnArbor.com
Members of the Skatepark Street Team held a bake sale Saturday at the Arbor Brewing Company's Tap Room, 114 E. Washington Street, with the aim of raising $2,000 toward the total goal for the skatepark of $1 million.
Crystle Partington, a member of the nonprofit Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark, a coalition of parents, teachers, business and community leaders and skaters dedicated to the development of a public skatepark, is the volunteer coordinator for the Street Team.
"The bake sale, which we did last year, was one of the Street Team's biggest successes at raising money and it's their favorite event," said Partington, who is a big supporter of building a skatepark. "I have a 13-year-old son who skateboards. All the kids in my neighborhood do, and they have nowhere to go. It's a safety issue."
"Skateboarding is my transportation to go hang out with friends," said Keelan Abbott, Partington's son and a member of the Street Team. "You have to go far away to go to a skate park, to Riley Skate Park in Farmington Hills or Modern Skate Park in Royal Oak."
"When you skateboard downtown you have to be super careful," said Street Team member Tariq Muhamed, 12.
Abbott and Muhamed along with Street Team members Austin Bryan, Khalil Benson and Matt Cole were all volunteering at Saturday's bake sale.
"I have a lot of friends who skate, and we would really like it if there were a skate park," said 13-year-old Cole.
"We want to raise a lot of money to help contribute to a skate park because it would be a place to hang out with people who enjoy the same hobby," said Benson, 16.
Bryan, 15, says that downtown Ann Arbor has been the primary place where he skateboards, but that it has many challenges.
"You don't want to skate in a crowd and hurt somebody, and cars can't always see you when you turn on a street," said Bryan. "We're allowed to skate in some areas because some cops understand we're just kids not trying to make trouble, but some cops will take our board and fine you $100."
The skatepark will be located at Veterans Memorial Park with a maximum size of 30,000-square-feet. Funding will come from donations received by Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark as well as a Michigan Department of Natural Resources grant and matching funds from the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission.
The city of Ann Arbor put out a request for design proposals which are due by May 4. Design teams are invited to a pre-proposal meeting at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 26 at the site of the proposed skatepark near the corner of Dexter Avenue and Maple Road, or at the picnic shelter at the south side of the baseball fields in the event of rain.
Construction on the skatepark is expected to begin in spring of 2012 and take four months to complete.