Canyon City grandmother a skateboard park backer

Canyon City grandmother a skateboard park backer

CANYON CITY --If you want to know about skateboarding in Grant County, ask Jessie Lewis.

The 67-year-old Canyon City grandmother doesn't participate in the sport, but she's ramrodding the fund-raising effort for a new skateboard park at the Seventh Street sports complex in John Day.

"My family will tell you - all I talk about is skateboarding," she said.

She got involved in the project a couple of years ago, after her grandchildren who were visiting took to skateboarding in the road outside her house. At the same time, business operators, police and others were coping with an explosion in teens skateboarding on sidewalks and private property.

What they needed, she decided, was a local skateboard park.

"Skateboarding is the fastest-growing sport in the world," she said.

Since then, she has worked with a volunteer board to procure a spot for the park at the sports complex and undertaken a series of fund-raisers to raise the $105,000 to build the park, install fencing and landscape.

She has the design in hand, put together by Dreamland Skateparks of Tigard. Now she and her six-person Friends of the Skateboaders board need to raise the money.

Through local donations from civic clubs and by sponsoring car washes and pop bottle sales and doing yardwork and selling ice cream at the Music in the Park concerts and the upcoming demolition derby, they have raised $4,540, including commitments from local businesses for some of the materials they need, such as the fencing, which John Day Hardware will provide.

Now they are preparing to distribute brochures, printed at no charge by Len's Drug, to area residents soliciting contributions.

"The board members are paying for it," she said, adding that none of the money raised will be spent on other fund-raising efforts.

In addition to those efforts, she is applying for grants from a variety of foundations that help communities. She attended a workshop aimed at helping her apply for grants.

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