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Foundation Still Moving Forward On Long Awaited City Skatepark
Manning the Escalon Parks Foundation booth at the recent Park Fete celebration, Mike Sipes of Escalon provides a visitor with an update on the skatepark project for the city.

They hoped to be farther along by now ... but officials with the Escalon Parks Foundation said they are still moving forward and making progress for bringing a skatepark to the community.

The foundation hosted its wine booth at the recent Park Fete celebration, July 12 and 13, and sold glasses of wine as a fundraiser, as well as providing information to interested residents about the status of the skatepark project.

Mike Sipes, working a shift on Saturday, July 13, had a steady stream of residents inquiring about the project, with renderings of the proposed skatepark also available, along with phots from other parks in the area.

“The City of Oakdale recently built a huge park and it was done with grants,” Sipes said, noting that Escalon is hoping to obtain grant funds as well. “We’ve engaged a grant writer.”

Prior grant applications submitted by the Parks Foundation did not result in any awards but Sipes said that doesn’t mean they won’t stop trying.

Among those stopping by the booth at Park Fete was local resident Kathy Herman, who said she supports the idea.

“Anytime you can get that teenager age group, give them a place to be, capture them, that’s good,” she said of offering the skatepark as a healthy outdoor entertainment option.

Sipes said the Escalon Parks Foundation does have some money built up – with a substantial amount in the bank and promises for donated materials to help when the project is able to break ground.

He said the grants being written will be sent off and then it will be another waiting game.

“We are hoping maybe we will hear something in October,” Sipes said of learning about possible grant awards in the coming round.

There are a variety of grant programs but many include certain criteria that must be met or have specific income and/or population requirements, making it an extremely competitive process. Still, Sipes said the Parks Foundation – which also hosted a fireworks booth during the July 4 holiday period as a fundraiser – will continue to put money in the bank so they will be ready to move when all the pieces fall into place.

The skatepark is slated to be built in a portion of Hogan-Ennis Park, along Escalon Avenue/Escalon-Bellota Road, with a design mapped out previously as part of an expansion plan there. At their recent meeting, Escalon City Council members also noted their support for the skatepark plan and agreed they want to see it happen for the community soon, as it has been a project in the works for the past several years.