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Plan to build skate park in phases gets OK

After eight years of waiting, skaters in Duluth may get their skate park. In its monthly meeting on Wednesday night, the Duluth Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously approved a resolution supporting the building of a skate park at Wheeler F...

After eight years of waiting, skaters in Duluth may get their skate park.

In its monthly meeting on Wednesday night, the Duluth Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously approved a resolution supporting the building of a skate park at Wheeler Field.

The plan that will go before the City Council will be to build the park in two phases -- one half by this fall and another half by next year if the necessary money can be secured. Current funding for the project is $148,000, enough to build half of a skate park. Another $150,000 will be needed for the other half to be built, a realistic goal now that the project has gained validity from the commission, said Jim Topie, a parks commissioner who has led the skate park committee.

"I think it can be matched now," Topie said of the money already secured.

Much of that money will have to come from the efforts of local skateboarders, said Topie, who has set a goal of $16,000 for local skateboarding groups to raise from the community, something that he says will not only help bring the second phase of the project into fruition, but also will give skateboarders a sense of ownership of the park.

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One local skater working to raise money for the project is East High School student Matt Wennberg.

Wennberg, 17, goes to the skate park in Superior and various places around Duluth to skate, but he and other members of the Duluth East Skate Club, a group of skateboarders that meets twice a week at East High School, would like to see a park closer to home,

That's why they're planning a fundraiser with live music for the project sometime this spring or summer. He said the majority of the $16,000 goal could be raised on that day.

"It will be a bit of a challenge," Wennberg said.

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