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It takes a city: Skatepark expansion group wins first Service Club Award

By James Day

If you want to get an update on the skatepark expansion in Silverton you get in touch with Sue Roessler. She maybe in Hawaii, but she always gets back to you.

And when she was asked to comment on the project winning the inaugural Service Group award for the annual Silveton Chamber of Commerce Community Awards? Well, the elapsed time from email out to email in was 56 minutes. Even from Maui.

“I am so excited about our team getting this as this is the first-time ever for this category,” Roessler said. “Silverton embraced this expansion because Jason Franz was so about community and because the folks knew how much the skatepark meant to Jason. We had folks support it financially that I didn’t know and that says something from someone who has lived in this town for 37 years!

Silverton Skate Park

“We also had great support from so many local service clubs Elks, Kiwanis, Lions, Rotary, the Chamber and businesses.”

One of the charms of the skatepark expansion campaign is that it grew out of the vision of its late founder Jason Franz and that its backers believed in the project and convinced others to believe even though it didn’t stem from the work of an organization already in place. It kind of grew from its own seeds.

Roessler picks up the story:

“70 individual and business donors wrote checks for the project and 87 donors gave through Facebook. Jason Jars for individual giving that were placed around the city and emptied by Jane Jones gathered $2,598.26, including four $100 bills. The Elizabeth Ashley Hoke Memorial Trust contributed around $2,000, and the Brenden Family Foundation put the effort over the top.

“I don’t have a complete list here, but Killers Pest Control; Lucky Leaf; Roberts, Ring and Fisher Wealth Management; Silverton Engraving; Rose Construction (they are putting in the concrete for under the memorial bench); Gear Up; Roth’s; Postal Connections; Dutch Bros. Coffee Station; Highland Construction; Premier Towing; and Larsen and Flynn are just some of the local businesses that donated.  Fall Line posted our money raising thermometer so customers could see how we were doing.

“I am excited that a dream to honor Jason was led by skaters who loved and respected him so much. They knew what he wanted in a Phase II and it was their voices (Dakota Becerra and Ethan Piaskowski) that the park builders, Dreamland, listened to and followed.  They got to see their dream turn into a reality and feel the support that the city of Silverton gave to something that means so much to them.”

Another piece of the charm of this initiative is that time after time it was the users, the skateboarders themselves, who chipped in with some heavy lifting.

When Dreamland had questions, Roessler texted younger skaters to get their opinions. When the time came to present to the City Council the kids were always the presenters and the “voice” of the project.

“And what a crazy time to try and fundraise, right in the middle of a pandemic,” Roessler said.

But that’s another part of the charm of the project. Sometimes you have to be a little bit crazy to even try something this outlandish. But if you believe, and if you persuade others to believe… magical things can happen.

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