The Rapidian Home

Clemente Skate Park fundraising competition draws over 100 skaters

Underwriting support from:
High ollie competition in Rosa Parks Circle

High ollie competition in Rosa Parks Circle

From his early teen years, skate enthusiast Chris Gray dreamt of his ultimate skatepark. Years later, a goal he once thought was never tangible is well on its way to becoming a real life achievement.

The Clemente Skatepark Committee held its first fundraiser at Rosa Parks Circle on Sunday, June 20. For $10, skaters of all ages could participate in the open skating event and enter the high ollie (a way to jump with a skateboard still under the rider’s control) and best trick (most creative or impressive skateboarding maneuver) mini competitions. From 1-10 p.m., skaters purchased merchandise from the many sponsors such as Premier, Nike, Vans and Element and participated in the silent auction for uniquely painted skateboards. Prizes for competition winners included trophy boards, a variety of skater apparel and Clemente Skatepark t-shirts. Over 100 skaters participated ranging from ages 4-40.

The goal of the committee is to build the first free public skate park in the Grand Rapids area. To fund the park’s construction, the committee needs to raise over $350,000 from personal and private donations, fiscal support from sponsors and businesses and grants. Every dollar made from donations and entry fees from Sunday’s event went straight to the park’s construction fund.

Rosa Parks Circle transformed from an open amphitheatre-like setting to a bustling skate park with the help of jumps, ramps and rails. Skaters cheered and marveled at one another after landing tricks and showed off their best stunts to the surrounding spectators on the humid June afternoon.

Gray, the backbone of the fundraiser and the main driving force for the skate park, was thrilled to see his hard work and planning turn into a successful happening. When asked how much money the committee hoped to raise by the end of the day, Gray had no exact estimate in mind.

“I really have no projection. Enough to pay back my bosses for all they have done for me and this event,” he laughed. “That much.”

This is the only fundraiser the committee has planned, but Gray hopes the public sees the competition as more of a marketing opportunity as opposed to a fundraiser.

“Sure, it is great to receive donations, but the goal of this event was more about getting the word out about what we are trying to do. We wanted today to be fun for everyone and to get people excited about what we’re doing, not about money.”

The Clemente Skatepark Committee believes a free public park for Grand Rapids is long overdue. More fundraisers and events are in the future, so keep your eyes peeled. Donations can be made at their Website.

“When I was 14, I made a plan of my dream skate park,” Gray shared. “Time passed, I got older, and it obviously never really happened. But now my once-childhood dream is actually a reality ... and it’s awesome.”

The Rapidian, a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit Community Media Center, relies on the community’s support to help cover the cost of training reporters and publishing content.

We need your help.

If each of our readers and content creators who values this community platform help support its creation and maintenance, The Rapidian can continue to educate and facilitate a conversation around issues for years to come.

Please support The Rapidian and make a contribution today.

Comments, like all content, are held to The Rapidian standards of civility and open identity as outlined in our Terms of Use and Values Statement. We reserve the right to remove any content that does not hold to these standards.