SARANAC LAKE - Local residents who want to help build a new village skateboard park can double the value of their donations by dropping them off at the Bloomingdale Avenue Stewart's Shop.
The Saranac Lake SkatePark Committee has teamed up with the Stewart's Foundation on a fundraising campaign for the project, construction of which has now been pushed back until the spring.
Starting this past Monday and continuing through Aug. 4, donations for the skateboard park will be collected in buckets located at the store's cash registers. Stewart's will match the total amount that's donated over that period, up to $5,000, according to Peggy Wiltberger, head of the SkatePark Committee.
Skateboarder Nate Capone, left, makes a donation for the Saranac Lake skateboard park project Wednesday at the Bloomingdale Avenue Stewart’s Shop as part of a matching grant program that runs through Aug. 4. Also pictured, from left, are Stewart’s Assistant Manager Brett Bunion, former skater Brent Peckham, Peggy Wiltberger of the Saranac Lake SkatePark Committee and skateboarder Chad Lonkey.
"It is a huge opportunity for us," she said.
Wiltberger said she first inquired about the matching donation program about eight years ago.
"It's been on hold, more or less, for eight years until we got a site," she said. "One of Stewart's areas of interest where they like to give grant money to is for youth recreation. So this is a great fit for us."
In late May, the village Board of Trustees approved the site of the skatepark in the village parking lot between Church Street and Broadway, next to the Enterprise building. A design for the skateboard park has also been picked. The village and the committee are now working out the details of a memorandum of understanding on the operation of the skatepark.
The group had hoped to begin construction this summer, but Wiltberger said Thursday that likely won't happen until the spring. She said the village wasn't available to provide help with some of the site preparation until then. She also said that will give the group more time to raise money.
Wiltberger said the committee has so far collected roughly $140,000 in funds, pledges and in-kind services. It needs another $80,000, she said.
"We're making progress, but we need every dollar," she said.
Stewart's will match individual donations of cash and checks, which can be made out to the Stewart's Foundation. Contributions from businesses and groups don't count toward the match, but Stewart's can collect those funds at the store and will pass them on to the committee, Wiltberger said.
Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.