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Found this article from the Pelican Press on Dan Giguere, who we mentioned in the last post, and the future of the Payne Park Skate Park. We at Laurel Park Management think that Payne Park as a whole and the Skate Park in particular have been extraordinary additions to downtown Sarasota. Skateboarding cuts across traditional boundaries of race and income and, if accepted and given a place, encourages our kids to do what we all hope they’ll do: play together, have fun, gain confidence. Times are tough all the way around, but wouldn’t sacrificing the Payne Park Skate Park be like stealing from our kids?

Here’s the article—

With future city funding of the skateboard facility in Payne Park up in the air, two local residents appeared at the city commission meeting on Sept. 7 to present a plan that could keep the park open.

Dan Giguere and Mike Walling told the commission they would operate the park as Sk8skool and save the city more than $16,000 a year.

A middle school teacher at Sarasota School of the Arts and Sciences, Giguere said he has seen hundreds of middle schoolers go through his program, so he knows how popular skateboarding is in Sarasota.

He added that he also knows what a positive impact skateboarding can have on a child’s life. “I’ve seen such a great improvement in the kids,” Giguere said. “We want what’s best for the youth.”

Having an after-school skateboarding program, Giguere said, can help keep students out of trouble. The park can be a safe place for them to go, he added.

Part of Sk8skool’s plan is to make membership affordable for interested skaters. Giguere suggested a sliding scale in costs for children to use the facility.

Further, the men talked of providing scholarships to low-income families out of proceeds from fundraising efforts along with allowing a child free membership at the skate park in return for 10 hours of community service.

They added that the park perhaps even could make money if were to host official skateboarding competitions.

“We can actually turn a profit if we turn it into a competitive recreational facility,” Giguere said. “[We can] also have concerts, professional demonstrations, lock-ins. … This also increases revenue and can make more kids want to skate.”

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