Janesville77.9°

Skatepark effort closing in on goal

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FRANK J. SCHULTZ
October 12, 2008
— Construction of Janesville’s first skatepark could start next spring, an organizer said Saturday.

The inclusion of $50,000 for the facility in the proposed 2009 city budget would certainly help the effort, said Roger Streich of the Janesville Outdoor Skatepark Committee.


Streich said even without the $50,000, he hopes to start construction next spring. The question is whether the facility could be built in one, two or three phases, he said.


The estimated cost is around $300,000, Streich said.


Streich and his wife, Fern, said they hadn’t expected the park to be a part of the city budget, and they were well aware that a proposed budget item is far from a sure thing.


“If we go on the assumption that the city council will approve it, then it’s a huge blessing,” Streich said.


Streich talked to a reporter at the latest in a string of fundraisers, a “roll-a-thon,” Saturday at Palmer Park, where the skatepark could be built.


Streich said the effort has about $25,000 cash on hand and $40,000 in in-kind contributions from companies that would help build the park.


In addition, Lycon has pledged to supply a third of the concrete, and two sand-and-gravel operations, Prairie and Churchill, have pledged another third.


Streich said he is also having discussions with other companies that might supply concrete, limestone and excavation work.


With the cash and pledges in hand, Streich said the effort has enough momentum to approach foundations for contributions. Foundations want assurances that a project is likely to be built, he said.


Local foundations and the Tony Hawk Foundation are on Streich’s list. Hawk is a famous skateboarder. His foundation gave $12,500 to the Beloit skatepark effort, Streich said.


Streich plans to approach local service clubs and private businesses for donations in exchange for their names on a plaque. Naming rights in exchange for a large donation will also be considered.


Streich said local youths should have a safe, legal place to skate


“We believe in the youth, and we believe they have the right to skate,” Streich said.


Streich has said he wanted to fund the facility without any government help, but now he said he wouldn’t be ashamed to take the money, in light of a city initiative to spend about $1.3 million over two years to help build baseball diamonds, in a partnership with Janesville Youth Baseball at the city’s Youth Sports Complex.


“These kids have just as much right to enjoy their sport as an individual as other kids have to organized team sports,” Streich said.


A previous city council established a skatepark site in Palmer Park, near the corner of Palmer Drive and Mohawk Road. But recently, some have said a better location might be near the batting cages on Jackson Street near the Rock River.


Streich has said he has opposed the Jackson Street site because it’s too close to several bars and to a large number of sex offenders. Now, he said the committee encourages the Palmer Park site but would consider another safe location.


“Someplace is better than no place,” he said.


If you go


The Janesville Outdoor Skatepark Committee will have a Scoopie Night fundraiser from 4-8 p.m. Tuesday at the Culver's Restaurant at 2421 W. Court St., Janesville.



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