It is clear that the Sikeston Skatepark project is very close in becoming a reality. On behalf of the broad-based and volunteer skatepark committee, we would enjoy the opportunity to make a request for $2,000.
Teenagers in Sikeston suffer from a lack of places where they can socialize and recreate. Historically, local business owners and police have objected to various locations where the youth have congregated. When a group of teenagers approached the city council just five months ago about the need for a safe place to skate, the council listened wit interest and approved the skatepark to be at the Sikeston Sports Complex. The Park and Recreation Department would donate the land and would work up the pad. And will maintain the park when complete.
In Sikeston, skateboarders resort to competing with cars and pedestrians, creating hazards in private business area and public right-of ways where they activities are prohibited. Research clearly demonstrates that positive youth activities that provide structure during after-school hours and attachment to community are critical for reducing high school dropout rates, teen pregnancy, drug use and juvenile crime.
Upon completion this spring, the Sikeston Skatepark will provide a positive activity that builds attachment to the community. Even more, the five month-
long process of designing and building the skatepark has provided a learning opportunity for the youth involved as they designed the park obstacles, they have held presentations, bake sales, car washes, bagged groceries and much more.
The Sikeston Skatepark raised more than $2,000 from youth-organized events, and has been involved in the actual construction. And over $25,000 from donations and pledges. This blending of individuals from all walks of life has offered many mentoring opportunities for the youth, who have made significant gains in the realms of public speaking and participation within the political process.
The skatepark would provide a positive youth activity that builds attachment to the community. It would provide a safe terrain for the many people, particularly teenagers, who enjoy skateboarding and in-line skating. By leading the project, the teens are building their leadership skills and ownership in the project. The project structure provides a genuine example of synergy-building collaboration, which is the primary goal of the Sikeston Skatepark Committee.
It also will increase the community's awareness that it truly takes a village to raise a child, and that Sikeston is rural and personal enough to provide each child with the ability to make a difference - if the capacity exists. This project provides the community with an example of its capacity.