The City of Norfolk has been awarded $425,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Tourism Development funds from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development to be used for renovation of Miracle Skatepark.
Located within the Veterans Memorial Park complex, the aging park has long been in need of improvements.
Mayor Josh Moenning discussed the collaboration it took to get to this point.
“A few years ago, a group of dedicated and passionate citizens came forward with the idea of transforming our aging skatepark into the biggest and best skate facility in the Midwest,” Moenning said. “Over a long period of planning, partnership building and collaborative effort, we are proud to say we can move from talking about this project to doing it.”
In June 2015, members of the citizens advocacy group Good Life Action Sports (GLAS) approached the Norfolk City Council to request upgrades to the pa.
The council responded by setting aside $125,000 to be used toward the project. In addition to the funds set aside as a match and leverage for the project, the Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau, the Johnny Carson Foundation and the fundraising efforts of GLAS secured an additional $19,500 to be used toward the project.
Now, nearly 15 years after Miracle Skatepark was originally constructed, members of New Skatepark for Norfolk and GLAS will see a dream realized.
The renovation will utilize concrete, which in addition to lasting longer, has proven to be quieter than wood. Additionally, the revitalized park will be ADA accessible, opening the door for people of all abilities to use. The park also will include ADA restrooms, drinking fountains and bleachers making the facility an attraction able to support a number of events that are envisioned by the members of GLAS.
Moenning said the project will not only bring people to the region, but it also will make the park accessible to citizens with disabilitites and special needs.
“I am grateful for the tireless work of the citizens' group, city and regional economic development staff and local tourism officials for formulating a winning proposal,” Moenning said. “This is a great example of what can come to be when citizens join together with a clear vision for improving their community.”
Traci Jeffrey, the director for the Norfolk Area Visitors Bureau, said the revitalization of the park will further enhance the existing attractions Norfolk boasts, as well as create more opportunities to draw visitors to the region and state.
She said in 2016, there were 243,000 visitors to Madison County who spent $40.5 million within the local economy.
“With the help of the CDBG funds, the revitalized skatepark will have the capacity to attract new visitors and events nearly year-round,” Jeffrey said.
Anthony Thompson, the president of GLAS and founder of the New Skatepark for Norfolk committee, said the new skatepark will serve the entire community in many ways.
“The skatepark will provide a safe place to participate in action sports engaging people with fitness, entertainment and recreational opportunities. This new venue will host many new programs and events further activating Veterans Memorial Complex. The tourist attraction it provides will be incredible for the entire community,” Thompson said. “A free public park that offers all these positive aspects and brings travelers to town is a big win for everyone. Funding and building the new skatepark is only the beginning of great things to come to my hometown. Norfolk pride.”