Skate park slated to open in mid-June
By Bert Lehman
Thanks to donations totaling $13,575 from the Clintonville Lions Club the Gordy Noren Skate Park is scheduled to open in mid-June.
Without the donation, Clintonville Park and Recreation Director Justin Mc Auly said the skate park wouldn’t be opening.
“I appreciate everything the Lions have done to make this happen,” Mc Auly said. “It would not have happened without them. Hopefully the kids respect the equipment as if it’s their own and we can minimize the damage and have it for many, many years.”
In January 2013 the Lions Club originally donated $550 for the disc golf course in Clintonville. When that money was not needed for the project, the designation of the donation was changed to the skate park.
The Lions Club then donated $2,500 toward the skate park in July 2014, and another $5,000 in October of last year. In April a final donation of $5,525.28 toward the skate park was approved by the Lions Club.
Lions Club member Bob Didier said Gordy Noren, who was the driving force behind the creation of the skate park, was a longtime member of the Clintonville Lions Club.
“Lion Gordy [Noren] single handily started this skate park,” Didier said. “It has built up and evolved over the years from a few club members to a few local businesses to the broader support of the entire club and a number of businesses.”
Lions Club member Lowell Easley added that the Lions Club turned the skate park into its legacy project.
“It’s supposed to be a major community project to celebrate 100 years of Lions,” Easley said. “Every club has been encouraged to have such a project one of these years.”
The Lions organization will celebrate its 100 year anniversary next year. The Clintonville Lions Club was formed in 1924.
Didier added that the legacy project is designed to give back to the local community.
“Lion Gordy [Noren] started it for the kids, to get the kids off Main Street, to give them somewhere to go, something to do,” Didier said. “They (kids) used to be up there by First State Bank on the marble and concrete up there. They were skateboarding and jumping off of that.”
The skate park equipment is used and was purchased by the city of Clintonville from the city of Mauston in late 2014.
“It took awhile to get it up here,” Mc Auly said.
He said three trips to Mauston were needed to transport all the equipment to Clintonville. Schutt Industries twice donated a trailer to haul the equipment, as well as a truck for one of the trips. Jepson Transport also donated a truck for one of the trips.
“Without them we wouldn’t have been able to get the equipment up here,” Mc Auly said.
Clintonville Mayor Lois Bressette also acknowledged the commit of the Clintonville Lions Club to reopening the skate park.
“I think this is a great opportunity to show how we have community support from service organizations and that they care about our community, they care about the kids, they do a lot of work fundraising for this money,” Bressette said. “They put a lot of hard work in to earn this money, and I think for them to look at the city of Clintonville for their donation speaks a lot for our community as well as for our city.”
Reopening the skate park has been a priority for Mc Auly.
“I’ve had letters sent to me way before this project was even started,” Mc Auly said. “The kids have always been bothering me, whether it was through email, letters or on Facebook. It’s exciting to see us this far and hopefully in the next few weeks we can get the dedication done and everything going so the kids can enjoy it for the summer.”
Polly Goodell, daughter of the late Gordy Noren, said her dad was always a giver.
“He started this for the kids to be outside and have a place to connect with others. For this to be coming back to reality and be named after him, it’s very touching to me,” Goodell said.
Goodell said she is also thankful for the help of the Clintonville Lions Club.
“So many of these people in the Lions are my friends,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it, that they got behind this. They knew that he (Gordy Noren) meant well for this community. He didn’t move here until we did and he made a difference.”
The dedication when the skate park finally opens will be special for Goodell.
“I can’t wait,” she said. “I want to get out here now and start pulling weeds.”
Before the skate park can open, Mc Auly said 24 sheets of new ramp material have to be installed. The ramp boxes also need to be painted.
Mc Auly will also request the city remove the fencing around the skate park.
“We’ve been having a lot of vandalism on the fence,” Mc Auly said. “A lot of municipalities don’t have a fence around their facilities. I think by just having the fence it’s creating an at risk situation for the kids to actually break in at night and do vandalism.”
Even if the fence is removed, the skate park will still have designated hours and will be under surveillance at night, Mc Auly said.
In the future, Mc Auly said he’d like to have more green space created around the skate park. This would include grass, trees, benches and picnic tables.
To make that a reality, the asphalt around part of the skate park would need to be removed and black dirt added.
“We’re definitely looking for funding,” Mc Auly said. “I do get a few people every year who donate towards planting trees. That would be appreciated, whether it’s a memorial tree or memorial benches.”
The goal would be to create a family park atmosphere.
Removing the fence at the skate park was on the agenda for the Park and Recreation Committee meeting schedule for May 31.