Skate ramps are possible addition to park

Wright City seeking grant funds for skate park equipment

Adam Rollins, Staff Writer
Posted 7/28/22

Wright City leaders say they are seeking funding to add ramps and equipment for skateboarding and other wheeled sports at a new park under construction on Westwoods Road.

The board of aldermen on …

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Skate ramps are possible addition to park

Wright City seeking grant funds for skate park equipment

Posted

Wright City leaders say they are seeking funding to add ramps and equipment for skateboarding and other wheeled sports at a new park under construction on Westwoods Road.

The board of aldermen on July 14 voted to apply for a construction grant from The Skatepark Project, a national foundation that helps fund public youth skate parks. The city will pay its contract agency, TMZ Marketing Services, $5,400 to complete the grant application process.

Anywhere from $1,000 to $300,000 in grant funding could be awarded for the project, said Mayor Michelle Heiliger. She added that this is part of a broader effort to seek any available funding for parks and public improvements throughout the city.

City leaders began publicly floating the idea of skate ramps within the larger park development several months ago, and got an overwhelmingly positive response, Heiliger said.

“This is something they want sooner, rather than later,” Heiliger said. “To be honest, I fully expected to get at least some negative feedback ... and I heard none of that. Shockingly none, from anybody. This has probably been then one thing since I’ve been on this board where I haven’t had anybody saying anything negative.”

“Not every kid in Wright City is a baseball kid or a soccer kid,” added Alderman Karey Owens. “We have a lot of kids who enjoy skateboarding and biking, and not a lot of good places for them to go. The feedback we heard is that a lot of parents are trekking their kids into O’Fallon to take them to the skate park there.”

The current plan for the skate area would be to locate the ramps at the front of the park, in a small rectangular area bordered by two baseball diamonds, a parking lot, and Westwoods Road. City Administrator Jim Schuchmann said the skate features should be constructed along with the baseball fields in order to prevent future disruptions to that part of the park.

The position at the front of the park, with visibility from Westwoods Road, will also reduce the risk of vandalism, added Alderman Ramiz Hakim.

Despite the optimism for the project, Hakim said the addition of skate features to the park is entirely dependent on getting grant funding. He said the city doesn’t otherwise have money to spare for the addition.

Assisting in the effort to get the skate area built is local resident Justin Fears, who is helping with research and outreach to organizations that offer grants or specialized engineering for skate parks. He said this is something he and other residents have wanted for years.

“For a 10,000-square-foot skate park, you’re looking at about half-a-million (dollars),” Fears noted. “The average expense is between $55 and $65 per square foot.”

He advised city leaders to collect smaller grant awards and use those to help qualify larger funding programs offered by the state and federal government, which require local cities to supply part of the funding.

Wright City is also seeking a grant from MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation to assist with baseball field construction at the new park. TMZ is being paid $6,500 to pursue that grant, according to the board.

“This grant addresses the need for ball fields, ball field lighting, or basically anything related to a ball field,” Mayor Heiliger explained. “The minimum award for this grant would be $10,000, with no maximum listed.”

Park, Skate Park, Westwoods, Wright City Board of Aldermen

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