Skate park nears fundraising goal

Construction could begin this spring on a new Columbus skate park after the city received a $50,000 matching grant bringing the project closer to its fundraising goal.

Columbus is receiving a $50,000 matching grant from CreateINg Places through the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority on behalf of Patronicity, a civic crowdfunding platform.

The city plans to replace the 15,000-square-foot wooden Jolie Crider Memorial Skate Park at Indiana Avenue and Marr Road in Clifty Park with a new concrete facility. The new 12,000-square-foot facility will replace the original wooden structure which has sustained considerable damage during the past 20 years, park officials said.

The skate park is named in memory of Columbus North High School freshman Jolie Crider, who died from bacterial meningitis on May 7, 1998, at age 14. The city plans to retain the name of the park with the new facility.

The grant, which will be matched dollar for dollar, will allow the city to meet its overall $385,000 goal, said Stacy Findley, project and resource development director with the Columbus Parks and Recreation Department.

The current skate park, which was built in 1999, could be possibly disassembled in February to prepare for construction, which could begin as early as March depending on weather, Findley said. It will be built by Hunger Skateparks, a Bloomington-based design and construction firm.

Funding for the project has come through a combination of private donations, parks and recreational capital monies and several grants.

The new skate park is being designed by Janne Saario, an architect from Helsinki, Finland, who has developed several skate parks in Europe. This project will be Saario’s first to be debuted in the United States, Findley said.

The city will work to push online donations for the skate park through the Columbus Parks and Recreation’s Facebook page to meet its fundraising goal, Findley said.

The new skate park will be designed to meet the needs of all users regardless of their ability with the goal of making it a gathering place for young people and families to enjoy, she said. “We want to make sure that this is an inclusive park,” she said.

An entryway leading into the skate park will be developed that will include a seating area, a ping-pong table and designated space where people can play cornhole.

“With the skate park, we’re trying to activate it to get as many user groups to use it,” Findley said. “It’s a really creative space for everyone, you could say.”

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To donate funds toward the skate park project, checks can be made out to the Columbus Park Foundation with "skate park" in the memo line. They can be be dropped off at the city’s Parks and Recreation Department at Donner Center, 739 22nd St.

Checks can be mailed to the Columbus Park Foundation, P.O. Box 858, Columbus, IN 47202. Online donations can also be made on the foundation’s website by visiting