Wilkeson will host skate park ceremony

Small-town kids had some big-time dreams and, as a result, the Wilkeson Skate Park became reality.

The rolling cement structure near the town entrance on state Route 165 has been enjoyed for months, but will be featured during a grand opening celebration beginning at 11 a.m. Sunday, July 12.

The public is invited to the festivities, which will feature demonstrations and prizes. The word has spread throughout the skate community and some of the region’s well-known skaters have announced plans to attend.

The story behind the skate park is one of small-town ingenuity and perseverance. It was 2010 when Wilkeson youngsters, primarily those in their mid-teens, addressed the Town Council, asking for a place of their own. They expressed a belief that the town’s parks were geared toward small children. In turn, adults challenge the kids to help with the financing necessary for such a project.

That led to several town meetings and formation of Kids for Community Improvement, which operated under the umbrella of the Wilkeson Eagles. Parents and kids pledged to raise $10,000, a goal that was met thanks to several car washes, rummage sales, other fundraisers and donations. Then-mayor Donna Hogerhuis completed a grant application for the state’s Recreation and Conservation Office, which resulted in a $55,000 award, and worked with Pierce County to acquire the needed land.

The project was further boosted by a $5,000 gift from the Muckleshoot Charity Fund, a $5,000 contribution from the town and in-kind donations by local businesses and individuals.