Potsdam skatepark proposal gets support from former Tony Hawk Foundation
BY ADAM ATKINSON
North Country This Week
POTSDAM — The skatepark proposal for Fall Island is getting support from a national organization associated with world renown skateboarder Tony Hawk.
A letter of support from The Skatepark Project, formerly the Tony Hawk Foundation, lauds the community and local government for their efforts to construct a skateboarding and art park in Fall Island Park.“We’ve worked closely with passionate members of the Potsdam community to help them ensure the skatepark project is
completed efficiently and up to contemporary standards. It’s clear to us that there’s a solid group of core volunteers,” writes Andre Charles Taylor, programs coordinator for The Skatepark Project.
“They’ve created a platform for the voices of the local action sports community to be heard, and a pathway for them to experience meaningful civic engagement. Not only will these folks be immersed in local government, public policy and project planning, but it’s a collective endeavor that will result in a truly unique space that serves the community for decades. We’re confident the project will continue to follow the path of best practices, including the hiring of specialist skatepark design and construction firms to adequately execute the community’s vision,” Taylor writes.
The village is partnering with SLC Arts to bring the Potsdam park into reality, hoping to combine efforts to expand access to project funding. Various conceptual design work has been done on the park in Potsdam already.
The committee putting the project together is hoping to contract with Pillar Design Studios, formed by Potsdam native Brad Siedlecki, to construct the park. The firm has given an estimate of around $600,000 for the 10,000 square foot park.
Organizers spearheading the Potsdam skatepark proposal are researching funding options to pay for construction.
The skatepark was originally part of the village’s state Downtown Revitalization Initiative project list to receive part of the state funding award in 2019, but the park didn’t make the cut of the final projects to receive funding. Two other projects which were approved project funding however have dropped out, freeing up about $700,000 from the DRI funding for other project work. However, the decision on what projects from the village’s DRI strategic investment plan will receive the now available money is now in the hands of the state.
It is expected that the support of a nationally known and influential organization like The Skatepark Project could help the project gain financial support from various sources.
In the letter of support from the organization, Taylor cites the effect of skateparks on communities.
“With approximately 4,000 skateparks in our nation, we are seeing lasting value in these facilities through their ability to draw teenagers and young-adults off the streets, off of their couches, out of trouble and into a healthy, active setting that strengthens the individual and the local community. We’ve seen and experienced the many benefits a public skatepark brings to a community – the creation of habitual exercise habits outside of league restrictions or age, community interaction and social cohesion outside the boundaries of wealth, race, religion or creed, and the development of perseverance and creative expression that’s carried into user’s lives long after the skatepark session is over,” he writes.
“We feel the Potsdam skatepark project is worth supporting, and look forward to seeing who in the area has stepped up to help create a space that changes lives and transforms a community,” Taylor said.