Local Youth Work To Raise Funds For Skate Park

MOUNDRIDGE – According to online research, pro-skateboard champion Tony Hawk makes upwards of $1 million a year.

Wouldn’t it be nice to make that much?

Of course it would, but he reached that level of income through hard work and practice.

On Hawk’s Web site, www.tonyhawk.com, it says he “was a self-described nightmare.”

“Instead of the terrible twos, I was the terrible youth,” he said on the site. “I was a hyper, rail-thin geek on a sugar buzz. I think my mom summed it up best when she said, ‘challenging.'”

It said he started skateboarding at age 9 and has since become the most notable figure in the sport, even launching his own video game brand on various consoles.

Several youth in Moundridge also enjoy the sport, but with signs everywhere that proclaim “no skating,” they can’t practice the sport they love.

A handful of those children are tired of not being able to skateboard, so they are getting proactive.

Chris Hurst, 12, and his friends Javin Foth, 13, Kalob Hurst, 11, and Traci Richert, 14, are working to bring a skate park to Moundridge.

“There is nowhere to skate, and we get in trouble for skating places,” Javin said.

With the help of his parents, Chris and Jennifer Richert, Chris and Javin, whose parents Amy and Don Foth are also in on the act, are raising funds to give the skaters of Moundridge a place to practice the sport they love.

Jennifer Richert said about three years ago the Moundridge City Council approved construction of a skate park on public property near the Moundridge Swimming Pool; however, money was an issue, so Richert told her son he could either keep dreaming of the skater’s paradise or find a way to make it happen.

Chris decided to make his dream a reality.

He and his group of friends are hosting a fundraiser Saturday and Sunday by having a garage sale at 204 E. Cole in Moundridge.

The first day, the sale will be open from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m., and on the second day it will be open from 1 to 5 p.m.

Richert said the sale will include normal garage sale items as well as baked goods, including brownies, pickles and jellies.

“I told them to do something positive, so they decided to do a garage sale,” she said.

Chris said Javin’s dad, Don, is already working on the components of the park, which Javin said will include a half pipe, a fun box, a pyramid and rails for grinding.
Bradbury Co., Inc. has donated the materials to build the ramps and half pipes, Richert said, so the main cost still needed to get the facility built is the concrete for the 50-by-50 foot base of the park.

The group said they need $1,500, and they hope the community will support the cause enough to raise the funds.

At one point, Richert said, the group had a contractor lined up to do the work that would match the funds if the youth could raise half of the costs, but due to the time and the economic downturn since the contractor agreed to do the work, she said she isn’t sure half would be enough, which is why the group is hoping to raise all the funds themselves.

However, if there does end up being excess money, Chris said they have a plan.

“We can make a fence or put it into a bank account,” he said.

Traci said she thought there are enough children in town that skate to make the park get used every day.

“There are a lot of skateboarders in Moundridge,” Javin said.

Of course, once the park is built, it will be open for use only during normal park hours, which are from dawn until dusk just like any other park in Moundridge, Chris said.

Though it has been several years since the topic was discussed at a council meeting, Moundridge City Administrator Ron Huxman said he believed certain parameters of use would be implemented.

For example, Huxman said, users would be riding in the park at their own risk.

“There wouldn’t have to be any special policies we would have to take out,” he said. “People are responsible for their own liabilities just like at the swimming pool or any other park.”

Huxman said rules would be posted at the park, and he said he thought they would probably mirror the rules at the Inman skate park.

“We will have a set of rules out if they get this project done,” he said.

One rule Huxman thought of off the top of his head would address the issues of fair use by all and prohibiting any user to have more right to skate in the park than any other, such as a certain group not allowing another group to ride at any given time.

“It can be a very user-friendly place for old and young with the right set of rules,” he said.

Helmets may also be required, Huxman said.

“We’d want to be safe,” he said.

Often times, interests can be cyclical, but Huxman said having the park would be good for Moundridge no matter what.

“It is a positive effort,” he said. “There are a lot of avid boarders around. I didn’t have any problem with the concept.”

Richert said she thinks having the park would be good for the youth of Moundridge because it would give them something to participate in that they really enjoy.

“There’s nothing for kids to do in town,” she said.

The group hopes to have the park built by the end of the summer, with the support of the community.

Richert said she sees a lot of positives to the children getting the park started themselves.

“If they help build it, they’ll take better care of it,” she said.

Donations for the garage sale or monetary donations are accepted.

If you would like to donate to the cause, please drop off sale items at 204 E. Cole or 123 E. Thornton by Friday.

For more information about the project, contact Don Foth at 620-345-6859 or Chris Richert at 620-747-9169.

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About toddvogts 805 Articles
Todd R. Vogts, MJE, is an assistant professor of media at Sterling College in Kansas. Previously, he taught yearbook, newspaper, newsmagazine, and online journalism in various Kansas high schools, and he ran a weekly newspaper in rural Kansas. He continues to freelance as a professional journalist from time to time. Also, Vogts is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Journalism Education Association, among others. When he’s not teaching or writing, he runs his mobile disk jockey service and takes part in other entrepreneurial ventures. He can be reached at twitter.com/toddvogts or via his website at www.toddvogts.com.