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Community shows support for skate park



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A local teen shows off his skills during the spring Skate Jam hosted by Skate Park of Plymouth, Inc. Saturday. (Brendan Berube) (click for larger version)
May 11, 2011
PLYMOUTH — Local skateboard enthusiasts turned out in force Saturday afternoon to show their support for Skate Park of Plymouth, Inc.'s efforts to construct a state-of-the-art skate park on the riverfront in downtown Plymouth during the organization's Spring Fling Skate Jam.

The parking lot in front of Plymouth State University's Silver Center for the Arts was a hive of activity Saturday, with adult boarders getting air off a large wooden ramp while their younger counterparts lined up for a chance to show off their own tricks on a series of smaller ramps nearby and Skatepark of Plymouth volunteers sold t-shirts and raffle tickets and kept the boarders and other visitors plied with hot dogs and hamburgers.

Observing the goings-on from behind the grill was Skatepark of Plymouth's chief spokesman, Mike Currier, who was thrilled at the show of support from the local community.

"It's really a community effort," Currier said, explaining that the university, the Plymouth Police Department, and the public have shown nothing but support for the project thus far.

With $30,000 already in hand, and proceeds from Saturday's Skate Jam expected to push them toward the $40,000 mark, Currier said, the Skatepark of Plymouth board is moving closer by the day to the $60,000 needed to complete the first phase of the project — the construction of a small-scale park on a parcel of land along the riverfront in downtown Plymouth that was leased to the organization by Alex Ray, founder and owner of the Common Man family of restaurants.

"Without him, we wouldn't even be here today because we needed a place to put [the park]," Currier explained.

Eventually, he said, Skatepark of Plymouth hopes to construct a state-of-the-art park that "People will come to skate this like they go to Loon Mountain or Cannon Mountain to ski," he said, voicing his hope that the park will help to turn Plymouth from a stopover point on the way to the White Mountains into a "destination town" in its own right.

The fact that Skatepark of Plymouth is a private, non-profit organization trying to fund the project entirely through donations and at no expense to the taxpayers, he added, makes it a win/win situation for everyone involved.

"We're not taking away anything," he said. "There's nothing about this that's not win/win."

The list of donors and supporters who have kept the project going is a long one, Currier said, but among those who deserve to be singled out are Ray; Chris and Shelly Swanson, who have allowed Skatepark of Plymouth to place change containers in some of their local Dunkin' Donuts locations that have brought in $4,000 since the holidays; snowboarding legend Pat Moore, who has given more than $10,000 in support of the skatepark; Coca-Cola of Northern New England, which donated space for Saturday's event; local police and town officials, who Currier said have been "very supportive"; Chase Street Market and Biederman's Deli; the Plymouth Rotary Club, which Currier said has been serving as the project's financial sponsor, using its 501 (c)3 status to handle all donations; the local medical community, including Speare Memorial Hospital; SAU 48, which he said has been behind Skatepark of Plymouth since the beginning, and views the park as a positive for local youth; and the Plymouth Regional Chamber of Commerce, which has assisted the organization with advertising.

"A little bit of effort by a lot of people makes great things happen," he added, quoting Skatepark of Plymouth's motto.

Garnett Hill
Martin Lord Osman
Penny Pitou
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