Check out our spotlight with the Cumberland Skatepark and find out how you can help make this project come to fruition!
What is the history behind the Cumberland Skatepark project?
There have been discussions regarding the potential construction of a skatepark in Cumberland for decades. The struggle has always been the organization of an effective workgroup to spearhead planning, fundraising, and to serve as a liaison between local government and community.
What inspired the skatepark?
The skatepark has always been inspired by a lack of designated spaces for youth to congregate, and a need to support our younger generations through the promotion of self-expression and providing opportunities to build social capital. The opioid crisis has ravaged our area, creating devastating outcomes for many of our local families and youth. While the local community has implemented many programs to aid in prevention and support recovery, we have yet to truly address the factors which lead to risk-behavior in the first place. Addressing the harmful effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) in Allegany County is key to reducing the social and public health impact of the drug crisis. To address the factors that give rise to childhood trauma it is necessary to adopt a holistic view and examine all constructs impacting social determinants of health, community wide. A new skatepark is just one step the City can take to provide space for youth enrichment and encourage the development of innovative youth programming design. Futuristic programs for youth with mentor leaders and role models could serve to promote a healthy population of youth who are more engaged in community activities. Skating has a long-standing history and supportive evidence-base of influencing artistic expression, promoting physical fitness, and nurturing social connections, while simultaneously inspiring personal ambition and promoting self-esteem.
Who is the organization leading the cause?
This is a City based project with support from the county and the Community Trust Foundation. The Skatepark Committee is comprised of a diverse group of local individuals, serving as liaisons between community and local officials. The Committee organizes fundraising efforts in the community, promotes the project to encourage community buy-in, and will continue to support project efforts beyond initial construction. The Committee is currently led by co-chairs Greg Kerr and Stephanie Hutter-Thomas who serve as organizers and the community voice for the project.
What will the skatepark consist of? Why did you choose the Mason Sport Complex?
There were initially three options on the table for potential skatepark locations, The City’s internal workgroup conducted research in 2021 for the purpose of determining the best option, based on cost, safety, accessibility, and the logistics of acquisition. Of the three potential locations, the Mason Sport Complex was the most cost effective and accessible option determined by the workgroup.
How much funding is needed? How close are you to completing the goal? Are there any grants that you or the City of Cumberland could apply for?
Allegany County has committed $250,000 to the City of Cumberland to seed the project and the City contributed an initial $10,000 to initiate a fund for community donations. The Community Trust Foundation is managing all donated funds with the Skatepark Committee serving as the fundraising entity. Through organized fundraising efforts in the community, the Skatepark Committee is tasked with showing overall community interest and buy-in. The City of Cumberland will use their own grant writing staff to pursue additional funding. At this time, there has been an application submitted to the Tony Hawk Skatepark Project Grant Program in hopes of securing some additional supports.
What is the projected timeline of this project?
We are still navigating final decisions relating to design, excavation and engineering, which means there is not yet an official date for the start of construction or projected completion. With that said, things are moving forward as expected and we hope to announce official dates in the very near future as final decisions are confirmed.
What can our community do to help this project reach fruition?
Show up and contribute. Show up for events and fundraisers and consider donating or soliciting others in your network to contribute monetarily. Show up at City Council and Parks & Rec meetings to ask questions, write letters to our local commissioners to share your voice.
July 22, 2023 – Mezzo’s Skatepark Spirit Night, 5pm-10pm
More events are currently being planned and will be announced via Facebook and shared on list servs through local agencies.
Community members can do their parts by sharing our fundraising announcements, posting our fundraising information on their websites, and/or possibly hosting their own fundraising event.
The Cumberland Skatepark is also selling t-shirts to help their cause. We just received ours the other day! To purchase one, click here.
For more information and to keep up-to-date with the Skatepark, click here.