Goshen News, Goshen, IN

February 11, 2014

Teen uses Eagle Scout project to build skate park

AMIE SITES, Pharos-Tribune
Associated Press

---- — WINAMAC, Ind. (AP) — Clark Gudas was skateboarding with a friend one day when he decided Winamac needed a skate park.

And he decided he'd be the one to make it happen.

The skate park is Gudas' Eagle Scout project. Gudas, a junior at Winamac High School with Boy Scout Troop 229, spoke with his family to figure out what it would take to accomplish. The ball really started rolling in December 2011 after the town council approved the skate park project.

The Winamac Skatepark, which will be open to the public, has so far been well received. The skate park will be built at Rhinehart Park in Winamac next to the YMCA.

"It gives people a place to have fun and it's a way to get more people interested," Gudas told the Pharos-Tribune (http://bit.ly/1bRzI9Z ).

Skateboarders, BMX bikers, roller skaters and inline skaters will be all have access to the park.

Thus far, $30,000 has been raised by going door-to-door and asking for donations, applying for grants and asking some companies for sponsorships. That's more than half the overall project's goal of $50,000.

Gudas is waiting to hear back from a few grants, including the Tony Hawk Foundation skate park grant.

Another part of the project involves coming up with a design. Gudas said the final budget will decide the design.

The $50,000 project Gudas would like to see built is a concrete pad with different structures such as ramps and a half-pipe. The concrete would be constructed by a local company with the help of volunteers.

"We have a good idea of what we want to do, but it's all subject to change if we don't raise the total amount," Gudas said.

And he's only got until this summer to decide. To become an Eagle Scout, Gudas must complete a project that benefits the entire community before he turns 18 in July.

He is hoping to break ground in April with the help of Troop 229 and volunteers.

One of the reasons for creating the skate park is to give kids something to do in town. Other than the theater and the park, there aren't a lot of options, Gudas said.

Gudas' parents are proud of him for taking the project on. His mother, Louise Gudas, said it is also a way to make Winamac a better place to live by giving all kids the opportunity to get involved.

"It will provide a way to be active outside of playing group sports and will hopefully decrease the use of drugs and alcohol in the community," Louise Gudas said.

Clark Gudas is looking forward to everything coming together. "After years of hard work and fundraising, seeing the physical benefits in person will be pretty awesome."

Those interested in finding out more can visit the Winamac Skatepark Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Winamac-Skatepark/277219425663491.

Those interested in sending donations can make checks out to Arrowhead Country RC&D, a local 501(c)3 organization, and mail them to Clark Gudas, 671 N. 400 East, Winamac, IN 46996. Those who donate $50 or above are eligible for a "Buy-A-Brick" recognition and can get a brick with their name on it to be placed at the skate park.

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Information from: Pharos-Tribune, http://www.pharostribune.com

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