About Clemente Skatepark.

The Clemente Skatepark Committee is a group operating under the 501 C3 non profit, 6th Street Bridge, with the primary goal to get Grand Rapids it’s first free public skate park. It’s no simple task, but maybe we can get your help. As our parks and recreation department explains, funding for such projects is non existent, so the project’s 1.26 million dollar cost lay solely on privatized sources including the businesses and people of Grand Rapids. The final proposed park covers a spread of over 35,000 square feet and will include something for everyone from the beginner to the experienced rider.

How is this skatepark unique?

Clemente Skatepark is not what you might consider your typical skatepark. The space lays in the midst of dense wooded land in the heart of Roberto Clemente Park, an existing and severely neglected city owned space in the Roosevelt Neighborhood District. Fifteen foot wide trees scatter along the fringe of the proposed space that provide plenty of shade and great atmosphere. Necessary steps are being taken to preserve the natural wooded surroundings as well as to continue giving back to the greenery of the space with a few green features.

The Clemente Skatepark Committee has constructed, maintained and operated a free community garden that helps not only assist in halting community hunger, but also educates youth and adults on gardening techniques. In the past year this garden has supplied a food source and a place to learn about growing for anyone interested in learning. The first year proved wildly successful both in crop fruition and community impact, and thus the project continues to better serve the community in the way that Roberto Clemente himself would have intended. Final plans will result in an improved and expanded garden space.

In addition to the community garden, the proposed design will accommodate for runoff rain water in an efficient and natural process. The park shape will guide all of the “gray” water that is created by laying down concrete over what is currently porous turf, and lead it into a rain garden. This rain garden will compose of 100% Michigan native plants atop a bed of sand and proper soil, serving as a reservoir to filter and properly recycle runoff.

The fourth park element that ties a triptych of gardens within the park is the art garden. A small path lined with sculptural art leads visitors from the skatepark to the pavilion. Upon park completion there will be an open call for submissions and ten artists will be selected to be featured on the art trail.

What is going on now and when will the final design be constructed?

On May 25th, 2010, our group received approval to use the full south end of Roberto Clemente Park: located on Godfrey and B. Street. Our project has grown so much since then thanks to the help and support of many people who have donated time, effort and money. On June 20th, 2010, in collaboration with Premier Skateboarding, our committee hosted a skatepark fundraiser & contest at Rosa Parks Circle. The events goal was to raise awareness about our project as well as put some money in our account to operate and aquire our 501c3 non profit status. When the event was finished, all of the skate features were transported from the event down to the unused tennis courts located in the park. The temporary skatepark has seen heavy traffic that proves, clearly, the demand and need to supply a much larger and more permanent park. With the assistance of some talented contractors willing to donate their time and a small portion of our proceeds, the park has grown over the past couple years, adding new features that have served as a temporary solution. Our current project is a place to skate, but due to the nature of the cheaper materials used, small size of the space and growing cracks in the foundation, we are bound to need something proper to replace it soon.

Why build this park?

This skatepark will not only supply a place for Grand Rapidians to skate and appreciate, it will supply a very unique travel destination for people from around the world. The unique concept of a well rounded community space skate park is certain to draw attention, and will set an example for future skate parks to follow. With this extra tourism the local area will experience a boost in business. Most importantly,  local youth will be given productive activity to take part in, and the general well being of the surrounding community will be enhanced. With a police presence and hefty tickets becoming much more frequent for skateboarding downtown areas, but no alternative, it becomes ever more crucial that we supply a free public cement skatepark. Find out more about why skateparks are beneficial to the economy, health and much more by visiting our friends at Skaters For Public Skateparks.

How can I help?

We ask you to please consider the benefits of having this beautiful park, and make a donation of any amount toward it’s construction on our donation page or by contacting us via email. All donations may be used as a tax write off by using the receipt provided by google checkout or by a Clemente Committee member in person. Aside from cash donations, opportunities to volunteer are always available and can be discovered by inquiring via the email supplied on the Clemente website.