The two still have a long way to go. But for now, they’re each on the precipice of achieving their collective goal: unveiling a state-of-the-art space devoted to their shared passion, and sharing it with their community.

We recently caught up with Cash and Pete to discuss skateboarding, their application process, and to get some tips for those planning to apply for the next round of BTP skatepark funding.

Q: What does skateboarding mean to each of you?

Cash Burbank (CB): I can’t even put into words what skateboarding means to me. I don’t play any other sports because skateboarding interests me the most. I go as many times a week as possible—and when I do, I skate until I can’t walk. Skating with all the adults makes me feel equal and not like a little kid. I like competing with myself because it makes me push myself harder to land the trick I’m trying. Skateboarding means a lot to me. 

Pete Scheira (PS): Skateboarding is everything to me.  Whether I’m teaching someone to skate, having a session with friends (or strangers), a late-night solo [session] in my park, pressing decks, running my shop—I could go on forever. Basically my life revolves around skating.

Q: How did you first get involved with skateboarding?

CB: When I was eight years old, I was just watching YouTube, saw a video [of skateboarders] and wanted to do it. My grandma gave me $50 for Christmas and we went to stores that told us to go talk to Pete [at Jamestown Skate Products]. I bought my first skateboard and then I started lessons.

Q: Jamestown recently received a matching grant of up to $250K from the Tony Hawk Foundation for a skatepark near McCrea Point Park. How much planning went into the application?

PS: We found out about the Built to Play Grant in May 2018. We immediately knew Jamestown would have a good chance at being awarded the BTP Grant, so we got to work right away. We planned with [local skating advocates] SK8JTNY and the City of Jamestown throughout the summer, turned around our application in the middle of September, and were awarded the grant in December.

Q: Pete, you said in a recent news article that receiving the matching grant was “beyond a dream come true.” How long have you been hoping for an opportunity like this, and what does it mean for your community?

PS: Yes, this is truly beyond a dream come true! I have been hoping for this since
I first got a taste of skating a concrete park. Growing up, we always had wood ramps around here, and there were no skateparks. This skatepark will give our skaters a safe spot to skate, with [supportive] features to help them get as creative as they wish. Friends will be made—which in turn will give them a sense of belonging—and they will take ownership of the park while really caring for it.

Q: Cash, what do you think this new skatepark can bring to the community?

CB: It can bring a safe place for children to learn how to work hard on something, then accomplish it. People can also come from out of town, meet people and make new friends. 

Q: What fundraising efforts do you have planned so you can reach the maximum in matching funds?

PS: We have several events planned this year that will help generate a portion of the funds to match the grant. We’re also selling [personalized] bricks at three different price tiers, and have a plan for some select local organizations that wish to sponsor features in and around the park. These will not only bring in funds, but will also give our park a very local touch.

Q: If you could offer three (3) tips to those planning to submit applications for future matching Built to Play skatepark funding, what would they be?

PS: Sure thing.

  1. Have a solid, well-rounded group of advocates for your project. There are several types of skill sets needed to accomplish this project, so I believe the more diverse your group, the less outsourcing you’ll need to do throughout the entire project—which will help you keep a better handle on everything as it moves forward.
  2. Make sure your local government is on board (pun intended) with the project. This will make everything much easier when it comes to land, funding, liability, design, the build, basically everything involving the project. Make sure to [develop] a close relationship with a couple folks within the city government. They can make communication between the groups much more efficient, and more opportunities could come about because they usually know a lot more than you do about grants, additional funding opportunities, parks, policies, and how things operate in the city.
  3. Be passionate about your project, and make every single human feel your passion for the project.  When people know your heart is really in it, they are more likely to jump on board and help get your project rolling.