The Ypsilanti area will get a new skatepark, thanks to a $250,000 grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation and matching funds from the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission. But the specific plan for the park's layout and location are still to be decided with input from local skaters and community members.
Ypsi was one of four Michigan cities that recently received grants from the Tony Hawk Foundation, in partnership with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. The other cities were Detroit, Ferndale, and Port Huron. The Tony Hawk Foundation has funded more than 600 skateparks around the U.S. in total.
Meghan Bonfiglio, deputy director for the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission, says the commission decided to pursue the grant after a skateboarder from Ypsi came to talk to the commission in the spring, noting that it took multiple buses to reach the Ann Arbor skatepark from Ypsi.
The three other cities that received grants already know the locations where they will build their skateparks, but a site has not yet been determined for the Ypsi skatepark.
The Tony Hawk Foundation grant didn't require that all details, such as location and layout, be determined ahead of time. Bonfiglio says the commission wants to get feedback from local skateboarders before deciding on the exact configuration. The public is invited to make suggestions at an upcoming skatepark committee meeting from 7-8 p.m. Aug. 17 at Olympia Skate Shop, 1145 W. Michigan Ave in Ypsi.
"We want to know what the skating community is looking for? Bowls? Ramps?" Bonfiglio says.
She says the next big step is to meet with representatives in the community and have some conversations with the city of Ypsi, Ypsi Township, and Superior Township, which are all potential locations for the skatepark.
She says she likes the Ann Arbor model, where a skatepark was added to Veterans Memorial Park, which already was being used for recreation and had many parking spots. She says she wonders if a similar model could work for Ypsi.
"We're really excited to partner with the Tony Hawk Foundation," Bonfiglio says. "It's going to be a great amenity."
Sarah Rigg is a freelance writer and editor in Ypsilanti Township. You may reach her at email@example.com.
Photo by Trevor Staples.