On Tuesday June 14th, the Osceola Village Board voted unanimously to approve a revised location for the future Osceola Skatepark within Oakey Park. Marsha Hovey, Skatepark President, spoke to the board on behalf of the Skatepark Committee, noting their progress over the past year since revitalizing the project, and asking for approval for the new placement at 409 4th Ave on the SW corner of Oakey Park, which provides more visibility and accessibility than previous locations agreed upon in the early days of planning.
Todd Waters, Public Works Coordinator, introduced the agenda item and invited Hovey up to speak on the specifics. She noted that in less than a calendar year of fundraising, the project has now raised $42,000, a substantial increase from the $14,000 they started with just last year around this same time. “A year ago, Ben (Krumenauer) and Todd asked me to show that this project is viable, and if there are moments to be humble, now is not one of them. I think we’ve shown that this project is more viable than ever,” Hovey stated. "In a time when mental health awareness is massive and outdoor recreation is critical, this project is something that I feel should be high on the priority list.”
Ben Krumenauer, attending his last meeting as Village Administrator, noted, “We looked at this skatepark in multiple locations; churches, elementary schools, even up by the hospital, and it kept coming down to: where are the kids located, and how do we safely get kids there. So, it kept coming back to this site as being the goal.” He also reminded the board that a simple location approval was all that was needed for this meeting, as a discussion over the adjacent village owned property at 405 4th Ave and plans for a parking lot and removal/relocation of the house would happen at a later date. “The support of a location is all that is needed tonight,” said Krumenauer.
Village Trustee Van Burch motioned to approve the Osceola Skatepark location at 409 4th Ave, seconded by Village Trustee Holly Walsh, and then passed with unanimous approval by all board members. Hovey rejoiced along with the other supporters of the project attending the meeting. “I’m so proud of our community today,” said Chelsea Kruse, Osceola Skatepark Committee member in attendance. The positivity in the room was overflowing.
Breathing new life into Oakey Park has been a goal of the Village Board for some time, and this skatepark location will make use of a corner of the park that has been underutilized for decades, hopefully inspiring new families and residents to visit and spend time in this free public space. “I think it’s the best location, “ said Village Trustee Deb Rose. Rose also thanked Hovey for how she has gone about the project, continuing to involve both Paul Anderson, the original project creator, and Paul Smith, lifelong Osceola resident, as they have and continue to be stewards of the Osceola Skatepark project with immense passion, and want to see it become a reality like so many others.
With a location finalized, the Osceola Skatepark project can now move forward with larger fundraising, and it’s full steam ahead for them. Hovey stated that in order to make a bigger fundraising impact, a location was critical. “Now, we can show an address and a mockup when asking businesses and donors for funds. It’s no longer just a dream idea, we have something concrete to show.” In order to apply for grants through various outlets, an address and 30% of the final goal is required. Hovey is hopeful they can reach the $60k mark by the end of this summer, and work towards grant applications this winter.
Although a final design of the skatepark has not been decided on yet, Hovey shared that Evergreen Skateparks, a skatepark company based out of Montana, will be designing and building the park, as she has been a part of a number of their projects around the country. Their sculptural concrete skateparks are not only exciting to look at, but exciting to ride for both beginners and experienced action sports enthusiasts. Hovey hopes to have the skatepark completed in the next few years.
“We’ve already seen a massive amount of support from our community. Just last week Osceola Lanes hosted a 9-Pin Tournament for us, the Dresser Lions are hosting various raffles at a number of events, Kapco reached out to run an in-house fundraiser, and more and more donors keep appearing. We raised over $5,000 just last week, and we feel so lucky to have this community rallying behind us," she said.<br>Make sure to visit Osceola Skatepark on Facebook and Instagram to stay in the loop on upcoming events. Osceola Medical Center will be hosting National Go Skateboarding on their fitness loop on Tuesday June 21st at 5:30pm. The Osceola Braves will be hosting Osceola Skatepark Night on Friday July 8th at 7:30pm, and more events are in the works, so stay tuned!
The Osceola Skatepark project is housed through the Osceola Main Street Program, and is a 501(c)3 non-profit. All donations are tax deductible. Donate today OsceolaSkatepark.org, or in person at various businesses downtown including Croixland Leather Works, The Looking Glass, The Chocolate Gnome, and Valley Spirits. You can also watch the full Osceola Skatepark Presentation during the 6/14 Village Board Meeting via the Osceola WI YouTube channel from timestamp 36:49 to 54:28.