By CHRIS JACKETT
Sunday Times Newspapers
MELVINDALE – Before the school year begins, local in-line skating and skateboard enthusiasts will have their own playground to perfect their moves for future X Games.
Work began Wednesday on the new Melvindale Skate Park, south of the city pool at 3155 Oakwood Blvd.
City Administrator Paul LaManes said the project would take about a month to complete.
“Contractually, we have until Aug. 20. I’m guessing it’ll be shorter than that,” he said of the completion date.
The $68,000 project is funded entirely through grants and fundraisers. A $60,000 grant from a Wayne County Parks millage covered most of the bill, while a $5,000 grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation paid for another large portion. Melvindale was one of 11 cities throughout the United States awarded with a grant from the well-known skateboarder’s foundation.
“In subsequent to receiving a check from the Tony Hawk Foundation, we got a note on our design from Tony Hawk himself,” LaManes said. “The other unique thing about our park is it’s concrete, not modular. It’s more permanent and more durable.”
The Melvindale Parks Project, a nonprofit that raised $8,000 through an April skateboard sale and other fundraisers, also collected the remaining $3,000 needed to build the park. The city also held a buy-a-brick fundraiser that earned donors sidewalk engraved bricks for $100 each. Excess funds will go toward adding benches and signage after the park is complete, LaManes said.
“None of it will come out of the general fund,” he said. He also thanked Wayne County Commissioner Gary Woronchak for helping secure the county grant that covers 88 percent of the cost.
Park hours aren’t set yet, but likely will be from dawn to dusk for in-line skaters and skateboarders, but is not for use by bicycle extremists. The skate park will be free of any fees or residency requirements.