“WITHOUT CRAFTSMANSHIP, INSPIRATION IS A MERE REED SHAKEN IN THE WIND.” – Johannes Brahms.
This quote is taken directly from the Spohn Ranch Skateparks brochure. Recently, I had a meeting with City Councilman Sean Dunne, Matt Dingus, Brian Smith, and Vince Onel. Onel is the Principal/VP of Development for Spohn Ranch. He came into town to get updated on the skatepark plans and to see the location firsthand. (Weghorst Park) Immediately I realized how much work has been put into these plans and how this is truly a labor of love for everyone involved. Both Dingus and Smith discussed with Onel the current designs for the skatepark to come, and Onel was open to design changes and updates that were discussed. I heard skate lingo, but it was somewhat foreign to me. My adventures into skateboarding went like this. Tried my friend’s board out, nearly broke my ankle and I was done. Like I stated earlier this is truly a labor of love. Both Dingus and Smith came off enthusiastic and you could see how excited they were to skate this park. The same can be said for Onel, this isn’t just a business venture for him.
I recently got a little backstory on how this project came about. Dunne brought up this idea in 2013 to the Sociology Club at Shawnee State University. Dunne and the students all pushed for the idea, but it didn’t move forward at the political level. This was one of the key reasons Dunne ran for city council. Dunne didn’t scrap the idea and kept pushing for it. The goal is simple, to provide things to do for our community. That goal is close to being realized.
Currently, the group is waiting on funding from the Community Development Block Grant, that should arrive in the immediate future. With that funding awarded most of this project will be funded without the use of taxpayer money. A $156,000.00 grant was awarded from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The Tony Hawk Foundation has awarded $10,000.00. A local fundraiser added roughly $1,000.00, $2,000.00 from the Sociology Club, and $10,000.00 from SOMC. Dunne stated that the donation from SOMC really helped get the ball rolling on the other grants awarded. On top of the funding awarded, Reiser Construction will be doing work to help get the skatepark reading to be built. This is truly a team and community effort. Worth noting as well, the playground equipment sitting at Weghorst Park will be donated the 14th Street Community Center. The Portsmouth Skatepark Project is still
waiting to hear on a permitted start time but look for groundbreaking soon. Also rumor has it that Tony Hawk himself may come to the groundbreaking for it. #ENJOYLOCAL