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The current effort is aimed at raising funds for the Lake District skatepark

By on December 12, 2021 0

He and three others – Jake Specht, Chris Taylor and Scotty Awalt – spearheaded an initiative to make this desire a reality, creating the Lakes Area Skatepark Association, with a mission to provide a safe and accessible place for community members to skateboarding.

“If these kids don’t have a place to go, they’re going to resort to … the streets, and they’re going to resort to private property,” Rennaker said in an interview on Monday Dec. 6. “.. It’s pretty obvious that if these kids don’t have a controlled environment to go, more injuries can occur.”

Brainerd previously had a skate park in Jaycees Park, but it closed in 2012 when the League of Minnesota Cities ruled it was a liability issue. According to a Brainerd Dispatch story from December 2012, former Parks Director Tony Sailer said there were instances of graffiti in the park, but perhaps the biggest problem was the cracked and uneven concrete slab on which was the park, increasing the risk of serious injury.

Rennaker said the park was built in a swampy area, which likely contributed to the cracking of the concrete.

Right now the closest skate park is in Crosby which can be difficult for kids to access if they don’t have transportation and it’s smaller than the park Rennaker is hoping for. build in Brainerd.

Businesses and other private landlords probably don’t want children to skate on their property, while streets present the danger of vehicles and uneven sidewalks the potential for injury, Rennaker said.

“Skateboarding, extreme sports are going to happen no matter what, whether there is a skate park or not,” he added. “So it’s better to have a park where it’s safer, where people can meet in a controlled environment. “

There are a few locations in Brainerd and Baxter that might work for the park, but a definitive location has yet to be chosen.

The state-of-the-art 18,000-square-foot skate park Rennaker is envisioning is valued at $ 55 per square foot, with an expected total cost of around $ 1 million.

The timeframe for completing the project is about four or five years.

“We want to do it right so that we never have to buy another park again,” said Rennaker. “We’re going to build it right, do it right, and make it a good regional skate park where kids and people within a 60 mile radius or 120 mile radius come from all over to come to our city.” “

Like other sports, Rennaker said, skateboarding can provide physical, social, and mental health benefits.

A 2020 joint study by Instinct Laboratory and Flo Skatepark, both based in the UK, showed that skateboarding can reduce stress, increase confidence and provide an escape for participants.

Skate parks can serve as welcoming places to break down social barriers, said Rennaker, creating a space for all types of people to have fun.

“It creates communities. The kids can go there, make friends and develop their social skills, ”he said. “I met a lot of friends through skateboarding, in skate clinics. “

On the mental health side, skateboarding can serve as an outlet for children, Rennaker said, and allows them to grow as a person by learning motivation and hard work, just like any other sport.

“It gives children who do not or cannot participate in organized sports a chance to do so on their own,” he said.

An online petition launched last year garnered more than 1,500 signatures in support of a Lake District skate park. After launching the petition, as well as a social media presence, Rennaker said Brainerd Community Action executive director Dave Badeaux contacted him to become the association’s tax agent. Now the Lakes Area Skatepark Association is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit and has seen many members of the community get involved.

The group hosted a Halloween Tricks and Treat event in the City Hall parking lot, attracting more than 100 people. The skateboarders showed their skills and gave lessons to the children. The event raised nearly $ 700 for the new skate park.

A treat and treat event on October 31, 2021 at Brainerd Town Hall was hosted by the Lakes Area Skatepark Association, which is working to raise funds to build a skate park in Brainerd or Baxter.  Contribution by Jeff Mozey / Photo realistic studio

A treat and treat event on October 31, 2021 at Brainerd Town Hall was hosted by the Lakes Area Skatepark Association, which is working to raise funds to build a skate park in Brainerd or Baxter. Contribution by Jeff Mozey / Photo realistic studio

While Rennaker and the Lakes Area Skatepark Association have received a lot of support, Rennaker said the most common of the few concerns he has heard are noise levels if the park is located in a residential area. A 2001 study from the City of Portland – one of the first noise studies involving skate parks – measured decibel levels and concluded that the noise of a skate park is comparable to that of a playground. game. According to the study, tricks like ollies are comparable to a bat hitting a ball.

“And usually skateparks aren’t really on the road or next to anything. They’re sort of out of the way, ”Rennaker said.

So far, the group has raised just over $ 1,300 for the skate park project.

Dunmire’s Bar + Grill in Brainerd holds meat raffles twice a week to raise money for the project. They take place on Sunday at 3.30 p.m. and Wednesday at 6.30 p.m., with the exception of December 26.

Members of the association also sell raffle tickets for the Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza.

Rennaker hopes to continue building those funds to show the project is successful and then plans to apply for grants, which he says many companies and other organizations are offering at skateparks.

The 2021 Skate Park Grants program through the Minnesota Amateur Sports Commission, for example, provides matching grants to communities to build, improve, and maintain skate parks.

Tax-deductible donations can be made to donorbox.org/lakesareaskatepark.

For more information on the Lakes Area Skate Park Association and to sign the petition, donate to the cause, volunteer, or sign up for the newsletter, visit Lakesareaskatepark.org or email [email protected].

“We want to thank our volunteers, our sponsors and our community,” Rennaker said in an email. “We couldn’t fight for a skate park without everyone’s support.”

THERESA BOURKE can be contacted at [email protected] or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa.



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