By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – Drop-In Downriver, a Wyandotte-based group, hopes to gain city support to solicit private funding for a free public concrete skate park, which it promoted during the annual holiday parade.
The organization said in the flyers it distributed at the Nov. 17 parade that the group is working with advocates from the Tony Hawk Foundation, and have applied to be eligible for a grant-matching fundraising effort of up to $250,000 toward the construction of a privately funded, free public concrete skate park.
The group contends that a skate park has the potential to increase tourism in Wyandotte, which has the potential to bring thousands of visitors to the city.
The group further contends that skate parks need very little annual maintenance, and that 40-year-old skate parks in the United States are still operating with minimal refurbishment.
The group also suggests that by putting more people in the park where the skate park is located, crime drops, because there are more people observing activities in the given area.
The group reports that the Tony Hawk Foundation found that 91 percent of police officers surveyed said there were no major issues, including bad behavior or crime, at existing skate parks, and slightly less than half attribute a drop in juvenile crime with the installation of skate parks.
Of the officers surveyed, 40 percent felt a skate park had a positive impact on relationship building between law enforcement officials and youth.
The skate park advocates also said skate parks provide exercise that can help decrease childhood obesity by providing a fun form of exercise, and some studies have found a positive correlation between physical exercise like skateboarding with an improvement in school performance.
The group also said that the diversity of skate park users creates a community of peers that develops an informal community support system for skate park users.
Skate parks not only encourage new friendships, the group said, but can provide emotional support that may be lacking in other areas of their lives.
For more information, visit the group’s Facebook page, Drop-In Downriver.
(Sue Suchyta can be reached at [email protected])