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MONMOUTH-INDEPENDENCE — Longtime skateboarder Brice Spreadbury is trying to pull off his greatest trick yet — getting a new skatepark built to serve the combined communities of Independence and Monmouth.

Spreadbury, 22, a recent graphic design graduate from Chemeketa Community College, took over as the head of the Monmouth Skatepark Committee in 2017 with grand aspirations to have a new facility with an estimated price tag between $550,000 and $600,000 built by 2022.

“Unfortunately, the project lost a lot of momentum due to COVID-19,” Spreadbury said.

However, Spreadbury is happy to announce a huge milestone in its construction was achieved just before the pandemic hit.

“Thanks to Cascade Steel Rolling Mills for donating all the rebar for the project,” he said.

Spreadbury estimates the rebar donated by the McMinnville company is valued at about $10,000.

He admits the project still needs a lot of help to come to fruition.

The Monmouth Skateboard Committee initially raised funds to pay Dreamland Skatepark to design a 12,000-square foot facility in Independence. Spreadbury said when that land deal fell through, the Monmouth Public Works stepped up and donated a plot of land on the S-Curve baseball fields adjacent Hoagan Road. Spreadbury knows to get the rest of the way, the committee will have to apply for some hefty grants. But for now, he set the bar lower.

“As head of the committee, my job was is to drum up interest and excitement at the local level, promoting the project at local events and increasing its visibility,” Spreadbury said. “By showing an interest on a local level, we’ll then use that as a base to go after bigger, park grants.”

He said he’s seen a real need in this area for a new skatepark. He’s found pictures of the original, much smaller skatepark still in place, from 2001. Spreadbury said it still has a lot of the original wood materials that are really starting to show signs of deterioration. But he knows there’s regional interest in a replacement.

“With our initial conceptual design meeting, we had people from Silverton, Corvallis, Dallas, Salem, all come down and give input,” Spreadbury said. “Having a skatepark here built by Dreamland will bring a lot of attention and people here.”

Spreadbury added that skateparks appeal to a wide part of the population and is not limited to seasonal participation.

“It’s also bikes, roller skates, roller blades, scooters. All those categories. Boys and girls do it. Kids do it. Adults, too. Such a wide variety of people that can use this park,” Spreadbury said, adding he sees it getting used more year round than the baseball fields. “Especially right now. It’s something to do during the pandemic. And having a bigger skatepark would be even more safe. I think it’s important for kids to have alternatives to the traditional baseball, football and soccer.”

Spreadbury invites the community to stay involved, following the skatepark’s progress on their Facebook page The Monmouth Independence Skatepark Committee or on Instagram at Monmouth Skatepark. Anyone wishing to make a donation can go to the city of Monmouth’s website www.ci.conmouth.or.us and click on “Online Payments.” Or, he added, you can still contribute a big-ticket item.

“Getting the re-bar donation was a huge step in the right direction. We’re still looking for companies to donate wood, fill dirt, rock and most importantly concrete,” Spreadbury said. “If you know anybody with contacts with those supplies contact Monmouth Public Works or the committee through Facebook or Instagram.”

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