Friday, August 3, 2018

Tony Hawk is giving out grants for public skate parks in Michigan

Posted By on Fri, Aug 3, 2018 at 12:25 PM

Tony Hawk at Detroit's Wigle Recreation Center - @TONYHAWK
  • @tonyhawk
  • Tony Hawk at Detroit's Wigle Recreation Center

Skate icon Tony Hawk's Tony Hawk Foundation is offering up to $1 million in matching grants for four Michigan communities with skate parks.

It's partnering with the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation to help fund parks in Detroit, Ferndale, Ypsilanti, and Port Huron. The Built to Play Skatepark Program is meant to provide youth with a free space to skate and, well, play.

“There is an ongoing need to create spaces where kids can get outside and be physically active on their own terms,” said Jim Boyle, Vice President of Programs and Communications for the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “When you combine that with the growing popularity of skateboarding and the convening expertise of the Tony Hawk Foundation, we see a tremendous opportunity to use these investments to create healthy and engaged communities.”

Already, the Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation Commission is providing $250,000 in funds that will be matched by the foundation for a park in the city of Ypsilanti.

The Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation is a grant-making foundation focusing on investment in Southeast Michigan and Western New York. This year the Foundation announced it was planning on investing $5 million into youth play development in Southeast Michigan, the partnership with the Tony Hawk Foundation being a key part of this initiative.

As for Mr. Hawk himself, the California local has been making some waves in Detroit as of late. Last year Hawk directly oversaw the design and creation of the Wayfinder skate park on Monroe street. Hawk also made an appearance at the park this year in order to promote it's reopening. Hawk also turned down a gig announcing the X-Games due to his belief that they snubbed Detroit as a hosting city.

Hawk and his family pose in front of their Detroit home. - @JAMESTUMEY
  • @jamestumey
  • Hawk and his family pose in front of their Detroit home.

Outside of skateboarding, Hawk also purchased a 120-year-old home in Woodbridge a couple years ago. Hawk has not made a permanent residence in Detroit, but he visits the city frequently due to relatives and according to the Detroit Free Press elected to purchase the home so that he could invest in the city.

The Built to Play skatepark program will begin accepting grant applications again in September. Built to Play Skatepark manager Trevor Staples can be contacted for inquiry at

Jacob Stocking is a summer editorial intern at Metro Times.

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