By Karen Cornelius
The Vermilion Parks and Recreation Board met on Tuesday night, October 17, and quickly became excited about the possibility of building a new community skate park after a resident came forward to volunteer his time and expertise to look into the planning, fundraising, cost, and vision for such a project.
According to the minutes, Reed Hettel stated he saw articles in the Vermilion Photojournal concerning the skate park’s current unsafe condition. He said he wanted to get involved and help. He is a long-time skateboarder outside of his career and does participate in skate parks, and has been all over America and Canada. He said a community skate park is something everyone can enjoy, not just kids. There are a lot of skateboard families who also visit Vermilion. He thought there were grants available he could look into such as the Tony Hawk Foundation Fund that offers up to $25,000. He also stated he would be more than willing to help out the community, share his knowledge, and help build a skate park for upcoming generations and present. He would not advise dumping money into the current skate park.
Hettel said the minimum footage depending on the area for such a park facility is 30,000 square feet, but could be done in 20,000. The cost could be anywhere from $150,000 to $500,000. He does have contacts with companies that build these parks. He was willing to get involved in fundraising and said if they received a Tony Hawk grant, Hawk would come to Vermilion in person on opening day. It all would be positive for Vermilion and having a skate park off Route 60, near the schools, would be a great place, and businesses would benefit. He offered to spearhead a committee. “If your city doesn’t have a skate park, your city is a skate park,” said Hettel.
Parks supervisor Dana Corogin said she was very excited about this and wanted to be on the committee. She thought they could hold some events to raise money through the rec department and also try to get funds through the Community Foundation of Lorain County and Erie County and get the Vermilion Local Schools to provide the land. From the audience, school superintendent Phil Pempin suggested an area west of the middle school where there’s high visibility.
Parks chairman Elizabeth Wakefield stated she would love to have Hettel pursue this and get a committee together and work with the school system, the parks and recreation department, and then come back to Parks board. Corogin said she thinks a new park would put Vermilion on the map and they would be at the front of something in this area. The topic will go back on the agenda for November 21.