B3 Skatepark Project is a committee of youth, parents and city officials created in June of 2000, coming together with a common interest: the children of Tonasket.
Eighty percent of the membership of B3 are the children of Tonasket, most being between the ages of 13 and 18. In November of 1999 Jesse Epley wrote a letter to the mayor of Tonasket, asking him to do something positive for the youth and build a skatepark. Unfortunately due to financial reasons the mayor was unable to say yes to that request. In June of 2000, a large group of young people approached the city council with the same request. The city council was supportive, but their answer was the same. They did however give the young people encouragement to raise enough funds to build the park themselves. With that in mind, B3 Skatepark Project was created, and a handful of dedicated young people took on an often times overwhelming task of raising enough money to build a skatepark.
Tonasket is a very small and economically depressed area. There is very little for the young people of Tonasket to do beyond academics. The members of B3 feel that keeping children active and safe is a priority and encouraging their creativity and individuality will be beneficial to the person they become and the community that they call home.
The population within the city of Tonasket is 994, yet there are 1240 children attending the Tonasket School District* which demonstrates the large service area of our park system. Of the 1240 students in Tonasket 300 of them are currently living in or below poverty level.
The nearest skatepark is 25 miles south in Omak, or 40 miles north in Oliver, B.C. Considering the family income of most school age children and the fact that the average age of a skatepark participant is 14, neither of these parks are useful to the youth of Tonasket. (*U.S. 2000 Census/bus routes.com)
Since June of 2000 the members of B3 have raised over $261,353.26 through various fundraisers and grants. The young members have sat side by side with parents and city officials at city council meeting. They have held rallies, skate days, presentations, and demonstrations. Many of these young people have applied for and received various youth grants.
B3 petitioned the City of Tonasket on September 11, 2001 and received land designated within the Chief Tonasket Park for our project. B3 Skatepark Project has hired and paid for a skatepark architect who has designed a 14,000 square foot concrete skatepark and a 2 acre dirt BMX track for bicycles. This will fit side by side with the updated baseball fields, soccer fields, boat dock, and pedestrian walkway systems throughout the park.
All of Tonasket will benefit from the hard work of a very young group of volunteers. The concrete skatepark planned will sit to the northwest corner of the Chief Tonasket Park, with access from Fourth Avenue and Highway 97. It will be 100 feet by 140 feet and be competition quality with fun boxes, bowls, half pipes, quarter pipes and even a corner designated for the tiny skaters just beginning. The completed skatepark will cost approximately $260,000 – $300,000.
B3 Skatepark Project working with The City of Tonasket has applied for a Washington State Interagency Committee for Outdoor Recreation Grant (IAC) which is a matching grant. B3 Skatepark Project Committee is managed under the guidance of the Tonasket Chamber of Commerce and the Tonasket City Council. All monies received go into a savings account at U.S. Bank for the Chamber of Commerce /Skatepark Fund. B3 is responsible for the collection of funds. Once the funds become large enough to begin construction, all funds are turned over to the city clerk and the dispersal of money will be the right and responsibility of the City of Tonasket.
The young people of B3 have applied for and received the following grants:
- 4 Greater Okanogan Youth Grants
- Youth Ventures Grant out of Arlington, VA
- Tony Hawk Grant
- Okanogan Highlands Barter Faire
- Okanogan Family Faire
- Hirst Foundation
- Tonasket Eagles Auxiliary
- STEPS Grant through the Okanogan, Douglas and Chelan Counties Health Districts
- North Central Washington Community Foundation Grant
Once completed, Tonasket’s skatepark and BMX track will be an asset to the entire community. It will be a gathering area for Tonasket and the outlying area children as well as an avenue for competitions from the entire eastern Washington area.
The skatepark will be competition quality, like no other within the eastern half of Washington State. There is an entire circuit of skateparks from Northern California, up through Western Oregon and into Western Washington. Skateboard and roller blading competitions are very popular with large crowds and competitors following the circuits.
The BMX track has the same type of following and race potential. Bicycles and remote control race cars both draw large crowds.
The entire city of Tonasket will feel the impact of these events. Motels, grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants will all see an increase in profits when these events move into town.
Besides the competition attraction, the skatepark will fill a huge void in the Tonasket vicinity for the young people. There are no areas in or around town for the individual and highly competitive sport of skateboarding, roller blading and BMX bicycling. The young people of Tonasket need an area to be safe and participate in the sports of today. Please help B3 make our dream a reality. No uphill journey is easy, but with the right company, it can at least be fun!
Send your donations to: Georgine Epley, Chairperson
B3 Skatepark Project
PO Box 454
Tonasket, WA 98855