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Published: Monday, 4/21/2014 - Updated: 8 months ago

Perrysburg man plans skateboarding park

Hawley doing everything he can to get legal spot in town

BY MATT THOMPSON
BLADE STAFF WRITER
This drawing is what John Hawley envisions for a park where Perrysburg young people can safely and legally skateboard. This drawing is what John Hawley envisions for a park where Perrysburg young people can safely and legally skateboard.
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John Hawley, a 23-year-old Perrysburg skateboarder, is doing everything he can to try to get a legal spot to skate in town.

He took his goal to city of Perrysburg officials in the fall. Since then, $20,000 was put into the 2014 city budget for the design of the park, and city officials have given Mr. Hawley guidance on the next steps.

“Legally, there is no place to skate in Perrysburg, but we still [skate],” Mr. Hawley said. “I want a fun, cool spot for kids to hang out — nothing illegal going on.”

The city told Mr. Hawley his first steps were to get organized and get a group behind him. He now has about 200 local skaters backing him, along with Right Direction Youth Development Program, a nonprofit organization they are partnering with so people can legally donate money.

Perrysburg Public Service Director Jon Eckel and program coordinator Judy Hagen have been working with Mr. Hawley.

“He’s a nice young man, and it is a project we want to work [on] closely with him,” Mr. Eckel said. “I applaud John’s effort and commitment to the project.”

The next big step is getting funding. Mr. Hawley has been going to local businesses with his sales pitch, explaining about the nonprofit and what he wants to do.

Another fund-raising opportunity Mr. Hawley wants to do is have a skate day in the next few months to raise awareness of the project.

He wants skateboarders to bring ramps and set up a makeshift skating area behind the Fort Meigs YMCA — with the city’s permission. It will be free, but there will be donations accepted and vendors there who will also be sponsors for the new park.

While nothing has been finalized, the city’s land behind the YMCA on Eckel Junction Road is the front-runner for where the skate park would go.

Rails, ramps, a half pipe, and stairs are just some of the features envisioned by the skating group for the park.

How much goes in the park and how big it is depends on how much funding the group can raise. Mr. Eckel said an estimate for a modest concrete skate park would be about $135,000.

Mr. Hawley says elementary school children will be the ones enjoying the future park the most.

“I want to reach out to the kids who will enjoy it and get the parents approval and support,” Mr. Hawley said.

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.



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