HOLMES BEACH, Fla. — Holmes Beach has been seeing some new attractions come to the island.
First, a new dog park and now a skate park.
“Our kids are really important, and our families are really important,” Mayor Judy Titsworth said. “We’ve been so proud about that the kids have an elementary school right here, it’s safe, there’s a library, there’s doctors’ offices, there’s everything right here for family not to have to leave the island so it was really important that we had amenities here in the park for the kids to enjoy.”
At 11 a.m. Saturday, Titsworth will cut the ribbon on the city’s brand-new skate park, sitting just steps away from City Hall. She says there will be vendors, free food and they’ll also be giving out free hats and t-shirts.
To make it even more impressive, you can expect professional skaters showing off their moves.
“Skating is really important to youth and their young fathers in this community,” she said. “We had a skate park and it was built about 10 years ago, maybe even more like 15 years ago and it was time to be redone.”
It all started with the community begging commissioners for a skate park on the island.
“We said absolutely, we’ll put it in the budget,” Titsworth said.
The city put aside $150,000 to fund the park. That money would cover the street skating section, but skateboarders wanted a skate bowl too.
The mayor, police chief, the code compliance officer and former commissioner David Zaccagnino started making cold calls asking for donations. In just three days, Titsworth said they raised more than $100,000.
“Almost $50,000 of it was actually labor and donated materials from Tom Sanger, a local pool contractor here and we got it done,” Titsworth said. “And it was just so exciting that there is that much generosity in this community for a skate park.”
Tom Sanger also got a say in the design of the park and asked local skaters what they wanted.
“We wanted to make sure it was functional but match the rest of the park and work properly,” Sanger said. “So, it’s a mix of a little bit of street skating and a little bit of what they would call transition skating.”
Sanger grew up on Anna Maria Island and it’s still where he calls home, but this time he’s got a family of his own.
“We grew up skateboarding, we didn’t have a skate park. When we finally did get a skate park, it was crowded, a little small so when we had the opportunity to do something like this I look at it from a standpoint of being a father and my kids get to use it now and we get to have an extremely professional, large facility so the kids can really benefit from it," he said.
Sanger says the goal is to get kids out of the house and active. He says his kids are already bugging him to take them to the skate park.
The park came out costing $250,000. Because of all the donations, Titsworth said they had money left over to go toward other improvements and additions to the island.
“We’ve got $80,000 in donations for a playground," she said.
Titsworth said the community can expect that in April. But, she’s not just stopping there. With additional donations, they’ll also work on the landscaping of the new dog park.
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