Skatepark Update

Group Seeking to Build Community Park in Pensacola Needs Your Vote – The Pulse
May 22, 2017

Jonah Bowl

It’s been awhile since I’ve given an update on our project, so I’d like to fill everyone in on the latest. We are putting the finishing touches on the design of the Blake Doyle Community Park and have completed almost all of the preliminary development items. The team at Spohn Ranch Skateparks, Jerry Pate Design, and myself have put a lot of thought and effort into the design. I finally am feeling really good about it. In fact, Peter Whitley from the Tony Hawk Foundation said he believes our park will be one of the best in the Nation and he was going to personally show Tony.

I was pretty naive going into this and didn’t realize that the “soft costs” for our project would be over $100,000. These are the things that had to be done before we could start thinking about breaking ground. Stuff like civil engineering, surveying, Phase I Assessment, design/development, and geotechnical work. I’m humbled by all the people that have helped in a big way by offering their professional services at a free or discounted rate. Big thanks to Clint with Geci and Associates, Sonya at Davis Management Solutions, Tim at Tierra Engineering, Rhea at Pillars For Promise, Glen at Biome Consulting, Chris at Bear General Contractors, Sean at ADI Geotech, Steve at Shell Fleming  Davis and Menge, and Keri at Holmes and Company. You are all amazing and I sincerely appreciate your help. Also, there is no possible way we would be here without all of the financial support from so many. Thank you all!

The next step is to secure the funding for construction portion. We’ve identified some good funding sources and are actively working on a number of grants.

  • The most promising is a RESTORE grant (see picture) we have been working on with the City and County that could potentially fund a large part of the park. These are funds recovered from the BP oil spill in 2010 to address environmental, economic, infrastructure and other needs of the community. Our project was included as part of the Hollice T Williams Urban Greenway project. 124 projects were submitted and 10 were shortlisted. Ours was shortlisted and is now at treasury. We should know sometime in October if it is approved
  • We are working on an IMPACT 100 grant (see picture) that would cover the first phase of construction (i.e. the IMPACT 100 Plaza). This would be a common area on the Northeast corner of the site and would serve as a grand entrance, common area, outdoor classroom, and focal point for the rest of the park. We will know by September 13th if we are a finalist and grants will be awarded in October. If we were to receive this grant we would be able to break ground on Phase I in the Spring of 2018.
  • Several local foundations awarded us generous grants last Fall (Bear Family Foundation, Kugelman Foundation Inc, and Pensacola Sports Foundation) for planning and design. We will apply again this Fall for brick and mortar costs.
  • The Tony Hawk Foundation’s next grant offering is January of ‘18. They already like our project and I feel positive about this one. Our application is nearly complete.
  • We met with staff from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity several months ago and they have put together a resource matching worksheet for us which I believe will be helpful now in securing funding.
  • We are offering naming rights for various components and features in the park (i.e. The Jonah Bowl), pictured below as an example. More on the Jonah Bowl soon!

This is pretty much where we’re at right now. The whole process is more difficult and has taken longer than I thought it would just to get to this point. But, it’s all worth it because we’re going to have an incredible park for people of all ages to enjoy from toddlers to seniors, a venue where we can host professional events, and a safe place for our youth that aren’t involved in traditional team sports. Thank you for believing in this project and all of the help and encouragement along the way!