New Skate Park in the Works for Laurel?
Laurel parent Amanda Wilson is leading a project that hopes to build a community skate park in Laurel. Wilson, mother to three teenage boys, said as more and more businesses and church parking lots stick "No Skateboarding" signs around their properties, skaters, scooter riders and BMX bicyclists are running out of places to enjoy their sports.
Driving to Billings is typically inconvenient or impossible for most younger skaters and Wilson said she's talked to many parents who wish there were something for older kids to do around the growing Laurel community of 6,500 residents.
This isn't the first time that Laurel citizens have raised the idea of a skate park. Amanda said the primary reason the other initiatives never made it beyond the drawing board was lack of funding/community support. The cost to build a quality skatepark for Laurel is estimated at around $500,000. Questions are being asked regarding who will pay for any additional insurance and maintenance costs. One of the final decisions would be where the new facility would be built.
Wilson has already contacted The Skatepark Project (formerly the Tony Hawk Project), a non-profit founded by the professional skater, whose mission is to "help underserved communities create safe and inclusive public skateparks for youth." The Skateboard Project helps community organizers with grant writing, fundraising, proposals, and the eventual design of the park. She's also reached out to the creators of the skateparks in Billings, Livingston, and the new Red Lodge park for input and advice.
Amanda admits the idea of a skatepark in Laurel will not happen overnight, saying that it typically takes 2-4 years for the initial plan to reach completion. Naturally, fundraising is the biggest issue. Everyone hopes for an angel donor to speed up the process. So... if you happen to know how to contact avid skater/rocker/Montanan @Jeff Ament from Pearl Jam, can you forward this article to him?
To learn more about how you can help or to donate to the skatepark cause, contact Amanda Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or text/call 406-694-2544.