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‘Good for the growth of a child’: New Warm Springs skatepark opens, backed by Tony Hawk foundation

(Update: adding video, comments from Steve Hawk, skaters, Warm Springs chairmen)

Park was in disrepair until grassroots effort brought many hands, organizations together for renovation

WARM SPRINGS, Ore. (KTVZ) – The Warm Springs Indian Reservation has a brand new skatepark, thanks to many community hands -- and a very famous skateboarder.

The previous skate park in Warm Springs was in pretty rough shape, and kids were hitchhiking miles out of town just to skate.

The new park, funded by Tony Hawk's The Skatepark Project, gives the reservation a safe new spot to ride.

Jonathan W. Smith, the chairman of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, was excited for the opening. 

“It's been something the kids have been talking about,” Smith said. “My kids are skaters, you know, so they’ve been talking about this for a long time.”

The community fired up the grill, brought out the skateboards and welcomed guests for Wednesday's ribbon-cutting.

The occasion marked the culmination of the last two years of grassroots efforts from community members and supporters including The Skatepark Project and the PTM Foundation to rebuild the only skatepark in the Warm Springs area, which had fallen into dangerous disrepair.

Jacoby Stevens, a 12-year-old scooter rider from Warm Springs, is happy he has a place to be with his friends.

“It's a good place to hang out and scooter around,” Stevens said. 

This park has an extra buzz to it as well.

The $200,000-plus park was funded by the Skatepark Project, world-famous skater Tony Hawk’s foundation.

Anthony Bryant, a young skateboarder from Warm Springs, is into skating because of Hawk. 

“I’m a big fan of Tony Hawk pro skater,” Bryant said. 

The organization has built more than 600 parks across the country, and normally donates about $25,000.

For this park, the project helped raise nearly $200,000.

Tony's brother and co-founder, Steve Hawk, was on hand for the big occasion, He says it was clear this community and the kids in it needed the upgrade.

“We strongly believe, my brother Tony and I especially, skateboarding and learning how to skateboard, all the perseverance it takes and determination is just good for the growth of a child,” Hawk said. 

Part of growth is trying new things, like young Anthony Bryant plans to do.

“Learning how to kick flip and learning how to go down big ramps,” Bryant said of his goals at the new park. 

Hawk and the Confederated Tribes believe this park will bring a lot of good.

“We're grateful they let us come into their community to build this,” Hawk said. “I think they’re going to find this is going to be one of the most used recreation facilities in town. That's true everywhere we go.”

Smith is glad kids will have a spot to be outside. 

“Oh, I think it will be awesome! It will bring the kids outside, get them doing something,” Smith said. “I think that’s really important for them, to get outside and see there's a whole world out here that’s really fun and exciting.”

The funding and construction of the park comes from a number of other local organizations besides Tony Hawk's, which you can find at the bottom of this article.

There's even an anonymous group from Bend who donated dozens of skateboards.

Here's the rest of the announcement of the grand reopening, from The Skatepark Project:

With new elements added to the cherished skate spot, the refurbished park will provide indigenous youth with a safe space to be active and build community around the sport of skateboarding. 

This dedication illustrates the power of skateboarding, which brings people together and provides a healthy outlet to be creative, work through challenges and build lasting friendships. The Warm Springs Skatepark’s grand reopening is a chance for community members to come together and celebrate the permanent concrete park that will be safe and accessible for generations to come.

During the grand opening, the Warm Springs community enjoyed a traditional blessing for the Warm Springs Skatepark, followed by guest speakers, a ribbon-cutting, a DJ, food, giveaways, plus time of course for skateboarding in the brand new park.

The effort to rebuild the park began when a Tactics team skateboarder, who lives close to the reservation, flagged the existing park as unsafe and inadequate for the community. The skatepark was in such disrepair that local kids had been hitchhiking to the nearest skatepark, which was miles away and outside of the reservation.

Tactics confirmed interest in this project with the Tribal Council and reached out to Collective Concrete & Construction to suggest working together to restore and improve the park. With support from The Skatepark Project, the PTM Foundation and countless other supporters, they were able to make their dream a reality.

The Skatepark Project helped to raise over $235,000 to rebuild the park, receiving support from Tactics, Ginew, Dehen, The Ford Family Foundation, The Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation, Roundhouse Foundation, PTM Foundation, Visit Central Oregon, Jefferson County Commissioners and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs.

Article Topic Follows: Warm Springs

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Noah Chast

Noah Chast is a multimedia journalist for NewsChannel 21. Learn more about Noah here.


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