Dear Sam,

Thank you so much for keeping us on your list.  The Wheels Park Project
(WPP) was voted into The Hands On Art Center (HOAC) as one of their own
programs in late 1999.  This was an important step because it gave the
project not for profit status.  As you may know, we had Tony Gembeck, author
of "How to Build a Skate Park", come out in Feb. 2000 to address the
community regarding the different aspects of our WPP.  Among many other
things, he got the youth going on the realities of the property the city of
Vernonia had donated.  The youth, after much study, informed the city that
the property what was donated was in the flood way.  This halted much of the
youth effort.  The land donated was to be used in part as matching funds for
prospective grants.  Since this was no longer viable, the mayor instructed
the city council's park committee to find other land so the youth could
continue.  This has yet to come to fruition.

On another note, I have seen circulated, a community survey from the
Vernonia School District asking the community to rate the importance of
several options regarding long range facility planning.  I was delighted to
see that a "Skate Board Park" was on the list.  I believe this is the first
step of a bond measure for the school district's long range facility
planning.  To have the district perhaps collaborate with the original wishes
of the youth in our community to build a skate park, is to say the least, is
great visioning on their behalf.

So, some say we appear "dead in the water" but I chose to believe we are
simply waiting for others to catch up!  If the city came through with
property or if a bond including a skate park in the school system were to
pass, we'd hit the decks running!  We are in a perfect position with HOAC to
collaborate with either entity.  We have a plan, design drawing and our wish
list of materials needed for building.  We have a local contractor who is
interested and would have Mr. Gembeck over see the project, of course.

Other good news, HOAC has just voted in a new board and so new energy comes
with it.  The press release has yet to be released, so you have the inside
scoop on that!

Thanks for your support.

Sincerely, Michelle Blum

Hey Sam,

    My name is Michelle Blum.  I am the advisor to Youth in Action! (YA!), a Vernonia High School club.  Their mission statement is: Youth working in mutual respect with adults in our community to build community.
    A project they have started is to build a Wheels Park in Vernonia.  Wanting to be all inclusive, instead of exclusive, they plan to build a park that welcomes all wheels.  The first phase is the skate park, second phase is to add a bike course and third will be to put a roof up over the skate park portion.  The youth feel that the community as a whole should be served by this effort.
    Currently the plans are for a 130' X 130' cement skate park so that the weather in our neck of the woods doesn't effect it's structure over the long term.  The roof of course would make it useable year round.
    We are phasing each portion for a couple of reasons. One the project would be too huge cost wise and have less focus if we tried to do it all at once.  Secondly, there are different needs that are best known by each group of users.  Phase one will secure the property for all phases but will only focus on the skate park portion first.  Once the skate park is in place and proves it's success, another group of people will head the second phase and will focus on the bike portion.  The third phase will take care of itself as the community sees this project for it's true value.  Or so it is planned.
    We have the support of our city council and it's administration.  They have gone so far as to dedicate the land necessary.  Unfortunately, the land proposed was not suitable for a skate park but they have promised to locate another piece of land for our use.  The community at large has stated it's support several times over.
    We had a great seminar, featuring Tony Gembeck, at the end of last January which really set us up with some goals and plans.  It was really very informative for our community also and well worth the money spent.
    YA! has been lucky enough to have a local not for profit organization, The Vernonia Hands On Art Center (VHOAC) embraced our project and act as administration for the Wheels Park Project.  Other community groups such as the Vernonia Community Development Corporation (VCDC) have shown strong support of our youth and this project.  We have had adult volunteers come forward and act as consultants to the youth regarding design and project management.  We are currently searching for new volunteers to work with the youth as consultants for campaigning / fundraising.  Our goal for our adult volunteers is to not burn them out by asking too much from them and spreading their portion of the project over a long period of time.  We are asking them for short time commitments that are very focused.  Once the funds are raised and donations secured, we will be using a local contractor for the actual construction of the park and Mr. Gembeck's organization for the specialized skate park nuances.

I will update you as we progress... it is proving to be a slow process but we will preserver!  Thanks for your interest in our project!

Warm Regards, Michelle Blum - YA! Advisor