Pawhuska skate park project awarded $25,000 from Tony Hawk Foundation

Skateboarders in Pawhuska want a safe place to skate

Fundraising efforts are underway to bring a public skate park to Pawhuska for area skateboarders, which recently received a helping hand from professional skater Tony Hawk.

The Tony Hawk Foundation Board has announced a $25,000 grant for a proposed skate park in Pawhuska near the Osage County Historical Museum. Local residents and skateboarding enthusiasts formed the, Make It Happen in Pawhuska committee, which received the grant to handle the fundraising efforts.

“It’s been a group effort” to raise money for the skate park, which could cost at least $100,000 to build, said Mike McCartney, executive director for Pawhuska’s Chamber of Commerce and co-chairman of the Make It Happen in Pawhuska committee. He said the committee is short about $14,000 to start building the park.

Skate park builder Greg Mize, who is of Osage and Quapaw decent, also traveled to the Pawhuska area at the same time efforts were being made to bring a skate park to the city and joined the collaboration efforts.

“I saw it as an opportunity to do some good,” said Mize who has approached government officials with the city of Pawhuska and Osage Nation about the idea. He said he would get a builder to work on the skate park when the money is raised.

Mize worked on plans for the proposed Pawhuska skate park and submitted them to the Tony Hawk Foundation Board for grant funding consideration. The nonprofit was established in 2002 by its namesake to promote and provide funding for high-quality skate parks in low-income areas nationwide, its Web site states.

The Pawhuska skate park, which measures 50 by 100 feet, is one of 22 projects selected for grant funding this spring out of 72 applicants. It is also the recipient of the most awarded funding, which is $25,000. Other grant recipients were either awarded $10,000 or $5,000, according to the foundation.

Mize touted health advantages of skateboarding, which include decreases in obesity and substance abuse because the sport is physically demanding and requires successful skaters to remain focused. He said a new skate park in the Osage Nation could also bring a Native American skating competition circuit to the area.

Participants could be eligible to enter the All Nations Skate Jam, which is held yearly during the Gathering of Nations Powwow in Albuquerque, N.M., Mize said. “We’re trying to grow out skating in Indian Country,” he said.

The proposed skate park site is on land donated by the city of Pawhuska with the city contributing about $24,000 for the project, McCartney said. The city will maintain the park once it is built.

McCartney said the committee, which is under the Pawhuska Community Foundation nonprofit, is waiting to hear back from other entities for possible donations.

Other contributions include a $2,000 grant from Wal-Mart and $11,000 from the Nation’s Million Dollar Elm casinos.

Mize said construction on the skate park could be completed by the fall, pending receipt of the funds.

For more information on the project or the Make It Happen in Pawhuska committee, contact Mike McCartney at (918) 287-1208 or co-chairperson Cindy Helmer at Pawhuska’s First National Bank.