GOLD HILL — Supporters of a street-style skateboard park got a $105,000 kickstart this week with a grant from Oregon State Parks and Recreation officials.
The money will be used to build the first phase of the skatepark at the city's sports complex along Highway 234. The first phase is expected to cost $132,000.
Parks and Recreation Manager Rob Lowe said the 4,500-square-foot initial phase would be enough for the facility to open to local skateboarders.
The skatepark project has been spearheaded by residents Jan and Peter Fish, who began fundraising efforts following the death of their son, Tom Fish, in 2009.
The park will be named in honor of the avid skateboarder and snowboarder.
Lowe said the city and the Fishes have accumulated about $50,000 in cash and in-kind donations of materials and services, exceeding the state's required 20 percent match.
Design of the park by Liquid Stone, a skatepark and concrete-design firm based in La Pine, would allow the facility to be used immediately but still expanded in phases.
"The city has been very lucky in that the designers at Liquid Stone have done a great job of designing the skatepark in phases so that the first phase, while it will be smaller than the entire park, will be perfectly usable and have a number of features that local skaters can enjoy," Lowe said.
Councilwoman Christine Alford credited the Fishes and Lowe for keeping the skatepark project on the city's priority list.
"I think most of the council is thrilled at this award," Alford said. "We have added confidence that our investment in parks and in our parks director will be rewarded by the successes of community projects like this one."
Lowe said construction could begin before winter.
"I'm just eternally grateful, and I feel like it was just such an awesome decision on their part ... we were up against some very worthy opponents seeking funding for public recreation projects," said Lowe.
The skatepark was one of 14 projects to receive funding in this round of grant awards — and the only Rogue Valley project — totaling $2.44 million.
"I'm just so appreciative that they deemed our project to be one of the ones to fund," said Lowe. "Having a nice, professional-quality skatepark could really turn Gold Hill and our sports park into a destination."