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Macon helps fund 
Franklin Skatepark

The start date for Franklin’s skatepark is on the horizon, and now it’s guaranteed to be fully funded. Donated photo The start date for Franklin’s skatepark is on the horizon, and now it’s guaranteed to be fully funded. Donated photo

The start date for construction of the Franklin Skatepark is approaching quickly, and now the project has all the funding it needs.

Last week, Macon County commissioners voted to chip in more than $10,000 over the amount requested to help finish the project. 

“I’m all about the skatepark; I think it’s way past due,” said Commissioner John Shearl. 

Franklin Town Manager Amie Owens came before the county commission during its March 14 board meeting to give an update on the project. The original cost of the skatepark was estimated at $294,750, but because town staff decided to take care of all the grading at the site, that knocked more than $30,000 off the price. Through fundraising, a previous donation from the county and a SCIF grant from the Southwestern Commission, the town had pulled together just over $150,000 for the skatepark, leaving about $110,000 yet to be funded. 

Town staff recently met with Andy Duck of Artisan Skateparks at the project site. Currently, the Artisan Skateparks team is working on renovations to the skatepark in Asheville. They will head over to Franklin next to begin construction there. 

“Staff will start actually doing that grading when the weather breaks and allows us to do so,” said Owens. “But we’ll have that grading done by the first week in May so the project can start either late May or early June. They’ve got a 120-day process on that in the contract, so by late summer we will actually have a skatepark for individuals to utilize.”

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Previously, there had been discussion and a request from the skate community to the board of county commissioners to potentially provide $50,000 to the project. That request was never formalized and that was part of Owen’s intent in coming before the board March 14. 

“So that we can show the partnership that we all have for this particular project, it would be a contribution from the county commissioners, a contribution from the town and we would still hope that the skate community would continue their fundraising efforts as they have been doing in the past,” said Owens. 

Owens asked the board members that as they think about their budget for the upcoming year, they consider a $50,000 donation toward the Franklin Skatepark project. In addition to a $50,000 allocation from the Town of Sylva and $10,000 in additional fundraising, this would round out the project funding. 

Commissioner Danny Antoine, liaison with the Franklin Town Board, suggested to his fellow commissioners that the county not only donate the $50,000 request, but also the additional funds that were going to be left to the skate community to fundraise — about $10,000. 

“I think it’s awesome that we’re getting to partner with you guys on this particular project and I think these kids have done a phenomenal job raising $39,000,” said Antoine. “I would like to make a motion or a suggestion to the board for you guys to consider us funding the remaining balance of [$60,576], and let’s build these kids a skatepark. Let’s get this going.”

Commissioner Josh Young asked Owens how confident she was that the estimates the town received were correct and that there were not going to be additional costs. Owens told commissioners that the contract the town signed says the project is not to exceed $262,000 and that there is a 10% contingency built into that cost. 

“We actually found out that because we happened to have some rebar laying around, that is actually going to reduce the cost because they’re going to use the rebar that we had on site for another project,” said Owens. 

The motion to allocate $60,576 to the Franklin Skatepark project to cover the costs of the county’s donation and mitigate further need for fundraising passed unanimously. The money will come from the county’s general fund. 

“Let’s build this skatepark, get it over with and give these kids something to do and go onto the next thing like an ADA playground,” Commissioner Paul Higdon said. “I’m ready to roll on this.” 

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