OWOSSO (WJRT) (12/12/2018) - Plans to build a new year-round skate park in Owosso are coming to fruition.
On Wednesday morning, the park became one step closer to reality with the arrival of work crews officially starting the project. The project has been several years in the making after officials realized the old skate park just wasn't cutting it.
"We got with the kids in 2015 and asked them how we could rejuvenate that, and one of our commissioners came up with the idea of building something new," said Michael Espich, chairman of the city's parks and recreation board.
The new park, which will be located at Grove Holman Park, was funded through both a crowdfunding campaign and a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
"I think they feel great. We've raised over $106,000 dollars and that says a lot," Espich said.
Owosso Mayor Chris Evelith said over the years, there's been a growing number of youth getting involved with skating in the community -- particularly downtown.
"We've had a lot of damage done to some of the hardscape downtown and we just want to put them in a place where it's appropriate for them to be, where they can do whatever they want, without fear of an angry shop owner coming out and yelling at them," he said.
The new park won't just be open to skaters. Grove Holman Park's older buildings, restrooms, concession areas and sledding hill will allow for year-round use.
"I'm very excited," Evelith said. "I think the community is very excited as well."
The park is expected to open by late spring or early summer.