Skate park gains momentum in Eagle Point

EAGLE POINT — After more than a decade of bake sales and recycling drives, a sign that reads "Future site of Eagle Point Skate Park" finally might be coming down.

Community members and city parks coordinators have scrounged together the community's portion of a $400,000 street-style skate park.

With a 40 percent required match, or almost $160,000, the city will now apply for a $250,000 state parks grant that would enable the project to break ground, perhaps by summer or fall.

The effort has been slow-going, and adults who were young skaters when the dream began have vowed to help when construction finally takes place.

Much of the $4,000 cash was derived over the years with can drives, a nickel at a time, $1 "support the skate park" stickers and picnic dinners.

The bulk of the city's $160,000 match comes from in-kind donations of promised labor, materials and a parcel of land donated by the city, valued at $50,000.

Parks and Recreation Coordinator Sherry Bailey said that while the project was slow to start, momentum continued to build with the newest generation of skaters and their parents.

Bailey, who said the grant would be submitted April 1, said it seemed ironic for the park to be a focus for residents during slow economic times.

"Even in a bad economy, people are still giving. It's been wonderful," Bailey said, noting that, in addition to the $160,000 in money, labor and materials, volunteer hours for the project had surpassed 860 hours.

Contributors include Avista Utilities ($1,000), Wal-Mart ($1,200), Rogue Valley Sewer (development fees, materials and labor valued at $3,500), Dan Horton (architectural design), and S&B James Construction, Pacific Electric, H2 Construction, CEC Engineering and Knife River (materials and/or labor).

Gemma Marlia-Johnson, one of the parents who helped kick start the project a decade ago, whose children are now in their 20s, said she was hopeful a skate park would finally replace the "future site" sign.

Marlia-Johnson spoke of an entire generation of skaters who built homemade ramps on cul-de-sacs, only to be told by police to take them down due to safety concerns and local ordinances.

"It certainly has been a long time coming. Definitely, I'd like to say that it's going to happen, not just possibly happening," she said this week.

"In a survey, years ago, they asked our local high school students, 'What kind of things do we need?' and a skate park was one of the things besides a swimming pool at the top of the list. I think it's time."

Rogue Valley Sewer manager Chuck Root said the skate park was an ideal community project to garner support from local business.

The sewer agency will offset development fees and donate materials and labor during initial site construction, an offer extended for a number of parks projects over the years.

"Our board of directors decided it was in the best interest of our customers to help with various parks around the valley," Root said, adding that the district had donated more than $100,000 for parks around the Rogue Valley over the years.

"We feel like all of our customers use the parks from time to time and that governments should cooperate and work together for our citizens. It's a good project for the community to help with."

If the grant application is approved, the park could be in place within 12 months, Bailey said.

"Of course nothing is set in stone," she said. "But, if we get our grant, we will be building our park in Eagle Point by summer or fall."

Buffy Pollock is a freelance writer living in Medford. E-mail her at

Share This Story