When new Osceola homeowner Marsha Hovey caught wind of the past efforts to build a skatepark in her cute little Wisconsin river town, she immediately started researching how to get involved. After a few emails to Osceola Area Chamber Director Germaine Ross, Hovey was introduced to Paul Anderson and a team of welcoming board members that quickly brought her up to speed.
For years, Anderson, owner of Croixland Leather Works, and the residents of Osceola raised money, can by can and dollar by dollar, to see their dream of a public skatepark become a reality. As time passed, momentum fizzled, but Anderson never gave up hope. When Hovey came bounding into his shop this winter, all bright eyed and bushy tailed, Anderson was happy to pass the torch and oversee a new chapter of the project he has dedicated so much time to.
Hovey has spent the majority of her career in the action sports world, which led her right here to Osceola. Taking on the role as Marketing Director of Trollhaugen in 2019, Hovey knew she wanted to settle in Osceola as soon as the opportunity presented itself, and in May of 2020 she bought a dreamy little house right in town. To some, Trollhaugen is just a local ski area, but to the greater action sports world, Trollhaugen is synonymous with creative terrain parks and big name pro athletes. It made perfect sense to Hovey that Osceola should be home to a public skatepark of the same caliber.
Although born and raised in upstate New York, Hovey’s work has allowed her to live in some of the country’s top destinations for skateboarding like Colorado, Montana, and Oregon. She has been fortunate enough to visit skateparks all around America, and even other countries around the world. “I have lapped this big beautiful country many times over, and visited towns that I never would have if it wasn’t for their skateparks. It’s such an amazing thing to discover new towns, new businesses, and meet new people by way of skateboarding. I’ve played soccer my whole life, and love all team sports, but there’s something extra special about what skateboarding has provided for me in terms of friendship, community, self confidence, and staying active at 32 years young! It’s definitely a lifelong passion.” says Hovey.
Having been closely involved with Evergreen Skateparks, Windells Skateboard Camp, and nonprofits City of Skate, and Skate Like a Girl, Hovey has seen the ins and outs of what it takes to create a quality concrete public skatepark, built for and by skateboarders. “Every skatepark is so different, but one thing remains true in every project; when high quality skateparks are built in a community, they have an immediate positive impact. Too often you see low budget, prefab skateparks built in small towns because it’s the cheaper option, but 9 times out of 10 they are poorly constructed for the sport, and left underutilized or even empty.” explained Hovey. “A quality concrete skatepark, built by skilled craftsmen who live and breathe skateboarding, is like a living sculpture, and when placed in the center of a community as opposed to the outskirts of town, becomes a celebrated place of recreation for all ages.
As the Marketing Director for Trollhaugen, Hovey plans to bring her experience and connections in the action sports world to the Osceola Skatepark project. “We are currently living through one of the biggest upticks in skateboarding participation in decades, with the fastest growing demographic in action sports being young women.” explains Hovey. “The tired old ideas that skateboarding is a fringe activity has finally been put to rest with skateboarding making its mainstream Olympic debut this year, and Des Moines, Iowa of all places was home to the first ever Olympic Trials! Top athletes from around the world competing for a chance at gold, and it all happened a few hundred miles away from Osceola. Having just completed a $6.5 million skatepark, now the largest in the country, Des Moines’ amazing investment sends a big message to the rest of the midwest to catch up!”
Photo: Evergreen Skateparks creations around America.
Although the exact location of the future Osceola Skatepark is yet to be determined, Hovey did not want to wait to start fundraising. She estimates a minimum of $150,000 will need to be raised in addition to the past funds being housed with the Osceola Chamber. “With these massive action sports events taking place in Des Moines this spring, now is the perfect time to shed light on how impactful skateparks can be for the midwest as a whole. My dream location for the town’s skatepark would be behind the Dairy Queen in Osceola. The space already provides safe walking paths to and from local businesses, restrooms, and picnic areas, and would revitalize an unused area for outdoor recreation.“ explained Hovey. “Osceola is the perfect town to set an example for the rest of the region as to what a successful skatepark can look like. So, let’s start a new chapter for this project together and make the Osceola Skatepark dream a reality!”
Want to get involved? Purchase your own Osceola Skatepark gear & donate today at OsceolaSkatepark.org. “I’m honored to be bringing this project back to life,” says Hovey, “and I can’t wait to share more of our plans to fundraise with the help of the Osceola Chamber and local area businesses. A huge thank you to Paul Anderson, Paul Smith, and Germaine Ross for trusting me and supporting me to take on this amazing task!” Make sure to follow along on social media for project updates at:
Facebook: @OsceolaSkatepark (https://www.facebook.com/OsceolaSkatepark)
Instagram @oseola.skatepark (https://www.instagram.com/osceola.skatepark/)
Photo: Tyson Crockett