Not Just Skating By

. November 6, 2012.

Skateboarding can be great way to keep kids healthy and active — but it's a sport that's frequently misunderstood or stigmatized, and it can be difficult for young people to find safe, legal places to skate. Even a place as progressive as Ann Arbor can be unfriendly to skateboarders, with skateboarding technically illegal in many public locations. But a group of dedicated citizens has worked tirelessly to improve the situation, aiming to create a state-of-the-art permanent skatepark at Veteran's Memorial Park. At the end of last year, the project took a big step forward, as the Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark won a $300,000 grant from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund. Along with $100,000 in private donations with $400,000 in matching funds contributed by Washtenaw County, the project has enough funding to go forward. But the struggle isn't over. The group still hopes to raise $200,000 more, in order to properly fund an endowment for the park's upkeep and improvement, per their agreement with the city of Ann Arbor. It's a tall order, but skateboarders are a hardy lot. Would-be donors can buy bricks for the park-to-be, or buy shirts, decks, mugs and more at local shops like Vault of Midnight and Launch Board.

If you or your kids want to help make this project real and thriving, check out and get rolling.