Skateboards and BMX bikes: Fundraising event planned for new Port Huron skate park

Port Huron is working hard to fundraise for an updated skate park.
BMX bikes will be flying through the air of downtown Port Huron all day on Friday as supporters of the Port Huron Skate Park work to help raise funds for the project.

Ramps and rails will be set up in front of the McMorran Place Sports & Entertainment Center with organizers offering free skateboard and BMX bike lessons and demonstrations, free food and drinks, and auctions, and raffles.

The goal is to raise money to contribute to the Port Huron Skate Park fundraiser, leading to the construction of a new 10,000 square foot poured concrete skate park at Optimist Park.

John Eppley, general manager of Alpine Cycles, one of the biggest champions of the park and fundraiser, says that the new skate park will be a significant upgrade compared to the one currently there.

"A lot of kids drive to Marysville and St. Clair to ride their skate parks, and even further away for indoor parks," Eppley says.

"We want this to be something for the kids. Instead of something that they can ride, this will be something that they want to ride."

The current goal is to build a $500,000 skate park on the site. While that may seem a lofty fundraising goal, it’s actually quite obtainable.

That’s because the skate park is set to receive a $50,000 matching grant from the city of Port Huron and a $250,000 matching grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation and the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, meaning that every dollar raised means an actual four dollars raised.

It’s the last big fundraising event planned for the skate park, though an end-of-August fundraising deadline could very likely see an extension. Eppley says that organizers have applied for an additional grant through the Department of Natural Resources, which would result in lighting for nighttime riding and livestreaming cameras, allowing parents and the authorities the ability to monitor the park in real-time.

Ground is set to break on the skate park at Optimist Park next summer. The fundraiser can be viewed online.

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