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Tigards skate park a go — finally

After five years, the Jim Griffith Memorial Skate Park is fully funded

TIGARD - 'Go forth and build,' Tigard Mayor Craig Dirksen told skate park organizers Tuesday after the City Council voted unanimously to accept $150,000 in matching funds to finally get the long-anticipated project underway.

There were high-fives all around when Skate Park Task Force Chairman Rich Carlson and several youngsters in attendance heard the council's 4-0 vote.

Carlson told the council that about $70,000 has been raised, thanks to generous donations by local residents and business people.

'There were a number of local people behind it,' he said. 'There were a lot of people out there donating money because they believe in this thing. It's impressive the way people stepped up to the plate - and they did it over a long period of time.'

Five long years, to be exact.

Tigard Parks Manager Dan Plaza explained that at this time of year in 2001, former Mayor Jim Griffith created the Skate Park Task Force, 'and we were off and running.'

'We didn't think it would be five years,' he added.

A grant application last year was denied in part because local matching funds were soft.

In March the city applied for an Oregon Parks and Recreation Department/State of Oregon Lottery Local Government Grant, and the city was recently notified that the grant was awarded, providing $150,000 in matching funds for skate park construction.

According to Plaza, the 15,000-square-foot skate park, which will be located in the northeast corner of the City Hall/Police Department parking lot along Hall Boulevard, is estimated to cost $426,300.

'The city originally budgeted $335,502 from the park SDC (system development charges) fund, $50,798 from the general fund and $40,000 in donations to finance the park,' Plaza said in his memo to the council.

'Since this time, donations have increased. If the council accepts this grant, park SDC funding will be reduced by $109,202, and no general fund monies will be used.'

According to Plaza, with the funding in place, the skate park should be through the city's permit process in about 30 days, and construction can start this fall or winter 'with the opening next summer.'

Dirksen noted that at the grand opening, all of the park's many contributors will be thanked.

'But right now, it's time to recognize the longevity of the effort and the tenacity of all involved,' he said. 'They stuck with it to the end, and some of them aren't so young anymore. One of the goals of this council is to include youth more. I would just applaud everybody who has seen it through to this point.

'The council made the decision to fully fund it this year, but we still applied for the grant. The fact that we received it this year takes a burden off the city and leaves us other park money to spend elsewhere. This will be a great facility for the city and the youth of the city.'

At the meeting, youngsters Michael Gant and Chas Caldwell appeared with Plaza, who gave them credit for making the presentation in Salem for the grant.

'I felt really humble,' he said. 'These two young men carried the ball.'

The park will be named the Jim Griffith Memorial Skate Park.