Skateboard park effort gains ground

LAKE GEORGE - Responding to repeated lobbying from local teen-agers, the village and town governments of Lake George have collaborated to earmark initial funding to create a skateboard park, village officials said this week.

Village of Lake George Budget Officer and Mayor Robert Blais has allocated $5,000 in the village's 2009-2010 budget and the town of Lake George has agreed to match that amount in their 2010 budget, Blais announced.

Initial meetings hosted by the Lake George Central School and representatives of the community-based Lake George Comes Together committee indicated great enthusiasm and interest in creating a skateboard park, available year-round to residents and visitors alike, Blais said.

Further meetings sponsored by a grant from the state Department of Health and hosted by youth advocate Bill Toscano and John Bowe of Cornell Cooperative Extension prompted further discussion of costs, location and maintenance.

Mayor Blais indicated that past efforts and interest seemed to diminish when the youth of the community were asked to become involved in the planning and fund-raising, but this year a new persistence prevails.

"This is entirely different this time," Mayor Blais said.

Recently a spaghetti dinner put on by several skateboarders at the Sacred Heart Church raised $1,100 and another fundraiser held at JT Kelley's on St. Patrick's Day has also raised a considerable sum, he said. Two parents have opened an account and another fundraiser is planned in April at the Fun World Arcade, which Blais owns.

The village has assembled a set of plans and initial drawings for a 50 x 80-foot area park costing an estimated $30,000.

The mayor has challenged the youth and their parents to match the funds allocated by the municipalities to help meet this cost.

"While it appears we are off to an excellent start," the mayor said, "our real challenge will be to find a suitable location."

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