Story by A.J. Arias
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Wed., Mar. 28 at the site of what will become the Greenwood Lake Skatepark, which is being built in memory of Dale Hirrel, a member of the Greenwood Lake community who died in a car accident in April of 2016 at the age of 16.
The ribbon cutting ceremony was attended by members of the Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce, Warwick Town Supervisor Michael Sweeton, who approved the skatepark, Greenwood Lake Mayor Jesse Dwyer, as well as members of the community, who were welcomed by members of the Greenwood Lake Skatepark team.
The following day a forum was held at the Elks Lodge in Greenwood Lake, and was well attended by a passionate group of supporters of the skatepark including Mayor Dwyer, and many skateboarders ranging from ages five to their early 20s.
The forum was led by the Greenwood Lake Skatepark Corp, which is a 501(c)(3) charity comprised of a team of local professionals that includes President Michael Dudley, Vice President Kurk Koziel, and Sponsorship Director Jonathan Sismey.
During the forum an update was given on the progress of the skatepark based on suggestions and questions from the previous forum that was held in July of 2017. Members of the Greenwood Lake Skatepark Corp brought awareness to the efforts of the many volunteers who have devoted their time to raising funds for the proposed skatepark.
The many events that have so far contributed to this project include the “Do it for Dale” concert, Paddlepalooza, the Leprechaun Pub Crawl, and even a fundraiser by Jessica Bell, 11, who came up with idea of selling hand warmers for the skatepark.
Additional events have been planned such as a pool tournament at Village Billiards in Warwick on Sun., Apr. 22; a Blood Drive in memory of Dale on Sat., May 5 at the Elks Lodge; a Golf and Wine Tasting event; a Kickboxing Tournament/Skate Contest with Bryan Caballero of CKO Kickboxing Warwick; a skateboard themed movie night at the theatre in Monroe; another “Do it for Dale” concert; and a skateboarding contest at the Greenwood Lake Police Department around the anniversary of Dale’s passing. The team is continuing its search for more fundraising events and is welcome to any suggestions.
The committee’s next plan is to start outreach outside of the Greenwood Lake area and into surrounding the towns of Chester, Warwick, and Tuxedo. The Greenwood Lake skatepark will be the only one of its kind within a 25-mile radius of its location.
The skatepark will put Greenwood Lake on the map and will bring business to the community. The park itself will be a concrete flow park. The style of park reaches down into bowls, ramps, and rails and has very little vertical elevation, being around three feet in height.
G.L. Skatepark President Michael Dudley told the crowd that it will not obstruct anyone’s view of the park or its surrounding scenery. The flow of the concrete will be beautiful and almost sculpture-like, according to Dudley.
Mayor Dwyer promised the kids in the crowd that the skatepark will be well maintained and that it will last a long time. G.L. Police Officer Leanne Malara also attended the forum in support of the skatepark.
The committee’s goal is to raise $300,000, an organic number based off an average cost of similar skateparks around the country. The team urges anyone interested in donating to this cause to visit their website www.GWLSkatePark.com and to join their mailing list. Apparel is available for sale on the website with all of the proceeds going towards the skatepark. Any donation towards the skatepark is tax deductible due to the organization’s new 501(c) (3) status.