The skate park slated for the corner of Lake Isabella Blvd. and Elizabeth Norris Road inside the Linda Kissack Ball Park was originally proposed on October 30, 2015, by County Supervisor Mick Gleason and then Director of County Parks and Recreation Bob Lerude. At that initial meeting, several locals agreed to work on the onerous task of raising the money needed to build the skate park. The following information is intended to let everyone know the current status of the project as well as respond to some concerns:
1. 100 percent of donations have been deposited into the skate park bank account. Not one cent has been spent on anything. Local businesses have donated banners, provided printing for free and allowed the committee to place donation jars beside their cash registers.
2. Estimated total cost in 2015 was $162,000. People have asked that a bowl be included; however, a bowl would add another $75,000 to the cost. Statistics show that once an area has one skate park, it is not long before a second one is built. Perhaps a second skate park in the Kern River Valley could include the requested bowl.
3. Current status of fundraising: $64,791.12 in cash, $2,000 in pledges, $22,750 in-kind materials and services for a total of $89,541.12. The donation jars placed in 30 businesses around the Valley have raised well over $6,000. This is amazing when you consider that most of donations placed in these jars were loose change. In addition, a donation of the cement needed for the skate park has been solicited.
4. Committee members are working on grant applications. Supervisor Mick Gleason has asked some of his staff to assist in submitting an application for one grant. A letter of intent has been submitted in anticipation of being invited to submit an application for another grant. Information has been submitted to California Water Service Company for a donation as part of their 2019 philanthropic activities. Many locals have donated items for an upcoming raffle. Raffle tickets are available from committee members and are $1 each, six for $5 and 12 for $10.
5. California Recreation Foundation (the 501(c)3 non-profit) is participating in Give Big Kern, which is taking place on Tuesday, May 7. This is a county-wide fundraising event put on by Kern Community Foundation in association with GiveGab. This annual event has raised a lot of money for Kern County non-profits, and the skate park committee wants to benefit from this exposure. As May 7 gets closer, watch the newspapers and local news for more information.
6. A rumor has been spread that a contractor has already been selected and a contract has been signed. This rumor is totally false. Selection of the contractor will not occur until the total cost of the project has been raised. The committee has talked to two contractors who have excellent reputations and build skate parks all over California; however, no final decision has been made.
7. The committee has been asked if input from local skateboarders and others will be included in the final design. Rest assured that once a contractor has been selected, an open meeting will be held to get suggestions from the local community of skateboarders, skaters, scooter and bicycle riders as well as anyone else with wheels (including those confined to wheelchairs.)
8. Another rumor indicates that the permit to build the skate park expired in December 2018. As with the rumor explained in Number 6 above, this one is also completely false. A county permit cannot even be applied for until the total cost of the project has been raised, a contractor has been selected and a design has been prepared. Every step must be taken in the proper order.
9. On the Kern River Skate Park Facebook page, comments have been posted that the committee rejects offers of help. This falsehood is very upsetting. The committee has asked for help on numerous occasions. Anyone seriously wanting to help is always welcome to attend the meetings, which are held the first Wednesday of every month in Supervisor Mick Gleason’s conference room in the local County building (across the parking lot from the Lake Isabella Library.)
Don’t forget that you can follow the progress of the skate park on the Kern River Skate Park Facebook page. In addition, that page shows the many ways that donations can be made to this much-needed project. The youth of the Kern River Valley matter to us, and this park is for them.