Skate park proponent wants more parents to join in group’s effort
A longtime backer of a skate park for Tonganoxie is urging more parents of skate and bike enthusiasts to join in his group's efforts to make the park a reality.
Bill Jones has been organizing monthly skate park meetings for the past two years.
He is one of a few organizers pushing for a skate park to be built in Tonganoxie who meets at 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at the Tonganoxie Public Library, Third and Bury streets.
"I can't believe more parents don't show up," Jones said. "You talk to the kids and they really want it. And they tell their parents, but here parents say, 'Oh, I'm too busy, I'm too busy.' Well, we need some parents."
His wife, Jan, and son, Weston, also have been involved with some other skateboard and bike enthusiasts in pushing for a skate park in Tonganoxie.
The City Council recently unveiled its 2008 budget, which called for $100,000 to be earmarked for a skate park.
An account also has been established at Community National Bank to which residents -- anonymously if they want -- can donate. The account is titled "Tonganoxie Ride and Roll."
Jones said Monday roughly $1,500 has been raised through the account. Money from the account will be used for concrete for the park. Total costs for concrete are between $6,000 and $7,000, Jones said.
Jones said there's one huge reason Tonganoxie needs a skate park.
"The biggest thing is to get the kids off the darn street," Jones said. "Give them a safe place to skate."
That brings about the burning question these days in making the park a reality: Where will it be constructed?
At the Sept. 10 Tonganoxie School Board meeting, Jones asked board members whether they would be interested in donating or selling land southwest of Beatty Field, in the low-lying area across the road on school property south of the Tonganoxie High School football practice field.
At the meeting, board members raised concerns about liability for the park. Board president Leana Leslie said the board would research the issue and report back to Jones.
If a site can be secured, Jones said organizers could proceed with applying for grants, such as one offered by professional skater Tony Hawk.
There's been discussion about building the park near the Tonganoxie Fire Station on East Fourth, but Jones said the school property would be more ideal because it has ample parking and restrooms at nearby Chieftain Park.
The bottom line, though, according to Jones, is getting more people involved. And that means coming to the monthly meetings at the library.
"We need help, in great big letters," Jones said. "If anyone else has input, come to our meeting and throw in your two cents worth, please."