WILMINGTON, NC — Youth across the U.S. continue to lead the charge for free, public skateparks in their communities. Skateboarding is now practiced by more than five-million Americans, though it has yet to receive the recognition or level of service afforded more traditional sports. And it’s the skaters themselves who are campaigning to put skateboarding on the recreational map, with most of the approximately 3,000 skateparks across the country resulting directly from local youth advocacy efforts.
Since 2002, the Tony Hawk Foundation has been assisting communities in their pursuit of free, high-quality permanent skateparks for their youth. With its team of skatepark experts, the foundation provides critical technical support to advise local advocates, promoting best practices for creating a local skatepark campaign and working through the obstacles common to these important facilities. THF also provides grant funds to help build free public skateparks in low-income areas.
This week, the foundation Board Of Directors announced the recipients of its latest skatepark-grant awards. These eight recipients join a list of 574 communities that have been awarded THF skatepark grants, and represent towns and cities large and small, from across the U.S.
With a campaign prominently led by its local skaters, Wilmington, North Carolina’s Ogden Skatepark project is an exemplary effort, and earned the foundation’s top award. “We are proud to support Wilmington in this way,” said Tony Hawk, whose previous visits to the area provided insight into the impact the park will have on local youth. “It represents the type of community efforts that we encourage through our skatepark advocacy. It is also a project that is close to my heart, so I plan to be involved with the park design and construction.”
As with each of the nearly 2,000 applicants for THF grants, Hawk has provided direct feedback on the Ogden Skatepark design. “We are thrilled to be the recipient of a grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation,” said Tara Duckworth, Director of New Hanover County Parks and Gardens. “His support means so much to this project and our community, and helps us bring more diverse recreation opportunities to meet the needs of all of our citizens. The skate community has been waiting a long time for this, and we are so excited to see the Ogden Skatepark become a reality.”
Spring 2016 THF Skatepark Grant Recipients
Wilmington, North Carolina — $25,000
Bristow, Oklahoma — $15,000
Palouse, Washington — $15,000
Tillamook, Oregon — $10,000
New Richmond, Wisconsin — $10,000
Macon, Georgia — $5,000
Ely, Minnesota — $5,000
Lincoln, New Hampshire — $5,000