Mike Seaman, 19, rides his bike over one of the newly erected ramps at the grand opening of NH Sk8 on Saturday. The skate park, at Brodie Park in New Hartford, was the result of five years of planning and fundraising. Kristen Domonell Republican-American.
NEW HARTFORD - Five years ago, Seth Pierce and Mike Seaman dreamed of having a skate park in their hometown. Many people thought it would never happen, but with a committee of children and parents from eight New Hartford families, NH Sk8 had its grand opening Saturday.
"Back then we skated a lot and biked a lot and we realized our town needed something for kids our age," said Pierce, now 19 and a sophomore at Keene State College.
The skate park in Brodie Park opened a little late for Pierce and Seaman, who are both in college and don't skate and bike as often as they used to. The two said they kept helping the Sk8 committee so a new generation of New Hartford kids can be introduced to the sport.
"The fundraising was sometimes stressful, but it was a lot of fun knowing we were going for a goal and we actually made it and turned our dream into a reality," Pierce said.
After having the park approved by the town, the committee raised $60,000 through fundraisers including music nights, a brewfest at Sundown, and a "flamingo flocking" that involved putting a flock of plastic flamingos on people's yards with a note that they could pay $20 to have it removed or $30 to send it to someone else. The flamingo flocking alone raised $5,000.
The group received a grant from the Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut and donations from dozens of local businesses.
Wendy Penn, who was recruited to chair the committee, recalled how it all began five years ago. She was organizing a children's triathlon and asked Pierce and Seaman if they would enter.
They would, they said, if Penn helped them get a skate park in town. The boys came in first place and held Penn to her word.
"You might think I'm crazy for working on a project for five years when they only gave me an hour," Penn said, surrounded by 13 children who were on the committee. "These kids are the most responsible and hardworking kids I've ever met."
The park's equipment includes jibs, rails, boxes, a picnic table, spine, quarter pipe, fly box and a flat bank.
The committee asks that anyone who uses it wears a helmet, abides by the few posted rules and takes care of it so the town can enjoy it for years to come.
Originally appeared 10/24/10 in the Republican-American