Selling raffle tickets to Saturday's ball race

by: Photo By Tony Ahern - Sign indicates the future location of the Madras Bike and Skate Park, at H and Marshall streets.

   For more than three years skate park organizers have worked toward their goal: bringing a park to Madras.
   Now, they're over halfway there, and they're picking up steam.
   The Madras Bike and Skate Park organization has raised $119,600 via grants and other fund-raising efforts. The Oregon Community Foundation and Bean Foundation has each provided $20,000, the Central Oregon Community Investment Board awarded them a $6,000 grant.
   The City of Madras has donated land for the park site -- on H and Marshall streets -- and has committed $25,000 toward their cause.
   "We need $216,800 to get it built," said Melanie Widmer, secretary of the organization.
   The construction target date: next summer.
   The group has plans from Dreamland Skate Parks, a leader in the industry. They want a park that will cater to both expert and beginner skateboard and bicycle riders.
   The middle school student council raised $2,500 for the park, and organizers are also planning on selling bricks to be displayed at the park.
   The organization is going after other funding sources: they're hoping to receive $10,000 from Nike, $25,000 from the Tony Hawk Foundation, and $50,000 from the Ford Family Foundation. Hawk is a superstar in the skating world and his foundation supports park construction, focusing on low-income areas. His foundation donated to the park in Reedsport, then showed up for its dedication, noted Dave Bell, president of the local skate park effort.
   Prineville, Redmond and Bend all have skate parks, while Madras has no such facility.
   Keep the Ball Rolling
   As a fundraiser, the skate park group is sponsoring the Keep the Ball Rolling Ball Race, which annually kicks off the Jefferson County Fair Parade. Tickets are available at Les Schwab Tire Center, Madras Sanitary, Safeway, the chamber, Parr Lumber, and Madras Medical Group. Tickets will be sold at the parade, right up to start time, which is expected to be around 9:30.
   Tickets are $5 each or five for $250. The lucky ticket holder for the winning tennis ball will receive $200; second place gets $100 and third gets $50.
   For more information on the park or the ball race, call Bell at 475-2508.
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