Plans to build a skate park in the Pacific are finally taking shape.
The city and the American Ramp Company, which was hired to gather public feedback and design a skate park, held an open house on Wednesday where about 20 residents reviewed the possibilities and shared their wish lists for the skate park. .
“As a skateboarder growing up here in the Pacific, I never thought this day would come,” said John Felts, who along with several others spearheaded the skate park effort. “We are going to build a skate park. What about that? »
The group coordinated with city staff, gauged community support, and raised funds in hopes of making the park a reality.
The city is currently considering funding the project through donations. The organizers are accepting donations via GofundMe.com – find it by searching “Jeff White Memorial Skate Park” online – and has raised over $6,200 towards its $150,000 goal.
The city paid $7,500 to contract with the American Ramp Company to carry out a community engagement and awareness campaign — including Wednesday’s open house — to assess potential skate park locations and create a final conceptual design and cost estimate.
“I love the passion and everything that happens here,” said Nathan Beemo, president and founder of the American Ramp Company.
Beemo brought four billboards with images of different skateparks the American Ramp Company has designed in other cities and asked residents to put stickers on the ones they liked the most, along with the specific features. they would like to see in the Pacific. Beemo also said people who couldn’t attend could complete a survey at www.americanrampcompany.com/survey/pacific-mo. He also spoke one-on-one with community members about what they would like to see.
A location has not yet been chosen, said Pacific Community and Economic Development Manager Steve Myers, but City Park and Liberty Field have been identified as potential locations. The location will ultimately have to be approved by the College of Aldermen.
As well as giving skaters a place to ride, organizers also hope the skate park can serve as a memorial to one of their own.
“We want to build a skate park that reflects our community and honors one of the best skaters we’ve had the chance to know – and that’s Jeff White,” Felts said.
The group hopes to name the skate park the Jeff White Memorial Skate Park in memory of SPC. Jeff White, who died in 2012 while serving in the US Army during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.
White’s family said they were honored by the gesture from the community.
“We just celebrated the 10th anniversary of his passing and it’s amazing that the community is still so supportive and interested in remembering Jeffrey and other service members,” his mother Paula White said. “He would think that’s really cool. He would be so excited.
She said she remembered how much her son loved skateboarding and how it taught him the importance of hard work.
“He would, and I would watch him, go around 300 times until he got it right,” Paula White said. “And he carried that ethic with him into the military.”
Jeffrey White Sr. echoed what his wife said.
“He would definitely like that,” he said. “He would be here sticking stickers.”
He hopes the skate park will incorporate a military theme into the design to honor his son, as well as other members of the military.
Mayor Heather Filley said she fully supports the project.
“I think it’s a great idea,” Filley said. “We constantly hear that our young people have nothing to do. This is something our young people can do. »
She appreciated how Felts and others in the community have taken the initiative — and how they’re taking the opportunity to honor White.
“It’s a great way to recognize one of our own,” Filley said.