Best of America

Armada, MI: Building a Skate Park

skateboarder© iStockphoto/Thinkstock
In 2011, residents of more than 50% of the cities, towns and villages in the U.S. cast their votes in the inaugural Reader’s Digest We Hear You America campaign. The top 20 vote-getting towns received grants that allowed them to kick off (or complete) projects to make their communities even better places to live. This is one of those towns.

Want to help your town get the support it deserves? Vote in the 2012 We Hear You America campaign now!

In rural Armada, some kids have a need for speed, but unfortunately there’s no place for them to skateboard and ride bikes. So a group of young people, with their parents’ support, founded Armada Board and Bike, a group focused on getting a skate park — replete with half pipes, handrails, ramps and more — built. The kids are handling it all, from obtaining planning approval from the township to fundraising and even designing the space.

It’ll take nearly $200,000 to complete the project, so when Armada Bike and Board found out about the We Hear You America campaign, the members led a drive to get town residents to vote. Armada ended up winning seed money. “Reader’s Digest was the single largest fundraiser for our project; it pushed us to the point where this was now attainable,” said John Paterek, the town’s supervisor, who noted that the We Hear You America money also helped drum up more cash from local philanthropic groups and matching grants.

 “The young men and women [from Armada Bike and Board] felt a sense of accomplishment,” said Paterek. “They took it on by themselves, circulating flyers, making pitches to schools and local nonprofits… and showed it can pay off. Because of promotion by Reader’s Digest… the project has taken a life of its own. We think the world of the opportunity Reader’s Digest has provided us… and we’re glad we’ve fared so well.”

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