Funders' Forum Helps Fund Van Skateboard Park - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

9/17/06-Van

Funders' Forum Helps Fund Van Skateboard Park

An annual forum brings agencies from across the nation to help out non-profit organizations in East Texas. The Funders' Forum educates groups on getting grants and other financial help.

Last year, the city of Van attended the event, hoping to improve the quality of life for adolescents in their community.  The city is now preparing to put that money into action.

When Colin Bowles started skateboarding a few years ago, he had to teach himself because hardly anyone else was doing it. That's not the case anymore.  "It's way more now, than it was when I started. There are skateboarders all over Van. We just don't have anywhere to skateboard," said Bowles.

The city of Van noticed the problem last year. Skateboarders were using church parking lots and city sidewalks, because there was nowhere else for them to skateboard.

Those who are really into the sport, like Coylton Hogue, sometimes drive hundreds of miles to cities like Houston or Dallas looking for better facilities.  "We've never really had anything really good to skate on in Van. We've always' had to go to places like Mesquite, which is where I went yesterday," said Hogue.

Using the grant writing skills they learned at last year's Funders' Forum, the Van Area Sports and Youth Foundation received a $25,000  grant from an anonymous donor.

Pat Percifield is on the board, and says they will use that money, plus more that's come in, to add a skateboard park at the city park.  "Most of the kids that are involved in this are not involved in an organized sport, but they're really involved in this, and they deserve some support from the community just like the organized groups do," said Percifield.

The concrete slab is being poured later on this week, and equipment will be brought in shortly after. The city hopes the children of Van will use the park, long after these guys have hung up their boards.

Lindsay Wilcox, Reporting. lwilcox@kltv.com

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