On Tuesday night at their regular monthly meeting, the Washtenaw County parks and recreation commission unanimously authorized up to $400,000 in matching funds for a skatepark being developed by the Ann Arbor Skatepark Action Committee (AASAC). The future location of the skateboarding facility is planned for the northeast corner of Veterans Memorial Park on the city’s west side.
Three of nine parks and recreation commission members for Washtenaw County, who attended Tuesday's meeting. Front to back: Jimmie Maggard, Patricia Scribner and Robert Marans. Obscured is Bob Tetens, director of Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation. (Photos by the writer.)
The county’s parks and recreation program is funded by two separate, dedicated countywide tax levies at 0.25 mill apiece – for capital improvements and maintenance, respectively. The millages are separate from the county’s general operating millage.
The offer of matching funds came with the clear expectation from commissioners at the meeting that the county will be given its due – in terms of signage and participation in the project as it moves forward.
Bob Tetens, director of Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation, spoke at the meeting about the ability of the county to leverage the fundraising efforts of AASAC to achieve an $800,000 skatepark, instead of a $400,000 skatepark. For AASAC’s part, the plan all along was to build an $800,000 skatepark – plus establish a $200,000 endowment for maintenance.
The promised funds from the county will allow AASAC to leverage the match as part of their fundraising efforts. From that point of view, the timing of the county’s decision worked out to AASAC’s advantage. This Saturday, March 13, from noon-6 p.m. Red Belly Boardshop will sponsor The Grinds of March, a benefit for the Ann Arbor Skatepark fund to be held in a warehouse located at 704 Airport Blvd.
The Grinds will feature a pro skating demonstration by Garold Vallie and Andy MacDonald. MacDonald spent his summers in Ann Arbor, growing up skating.
The city of Ann Arbor has so far not offered dollars in support of the skatepark, but has approved use of the site, and struck a memorandum of understanding with AASAC. Ten out of 11 councilmembers also signed a letter dated March 8, 2010, urging the county’s parks and recreation commission to support the skatepark. [Full Story]