Skate park wins DCR funds

Young organizers have independently fund-raised and secured a public/private partnership with the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) for $75,000 to upgrade and maintain a skate park on the Southwest Corridor Park (SWCP).

According to SWCP Parkland Management Advisory Committee (PMAC) President Janet Hunkel, the grant means the skate park is a “legit part” of the park.

Wheels of Steel (WoS), an organization founded by Brian Leff, a recent Massachusetts College of Art and Design (MassArt) graduate and JP resident, along with MassArt student Nick Murray, has spearheaded the transformation of a former hockey rink to a skate park near the Stony Brook T Station. The park is currently open with temporary structures and ramps. It’s used by riders of skateboards and scooters.

According to Murray, WoS has secured a $25,000 donation from shoe company Converse, and DCR will match it with a $50,000 donation of its own.

“It is a dream come true. It feels great to have an idea come to light after three years of working towards it. Finally, a skate park close by, in our community, for all ages,” he told the Gazette.

“There are a multitude of skateboard communities in and around Boston, and Converse is committed to supporting them and the parks where they skate,” Converse Vice President for North America Marketing Ian Stewart told the Gazette through a spokesperson. “We are excited to be able to give back to Boston’s Southwest Corridor Park and provide something useful for skaters in the area.”

DCR Press Secretary Bill Hickley explained that WoS have already been approved for $16,667 in matching funds—for $8,333 funds already raised—with an allowance to go up to $50,000 if WoS raised the full $25,000.

“The design of the project has not been finalized, and therefore the final budget as submitted is to be determined,” he said.

Murray said the $75,000 “will cover a full reconstruction of the park.”

A skate park created under the Zakim Bridge downtown is expected to cost the City $2.5 million and took six years to come together, according to Hunkel.

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