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Hawk contributes to Ruston skatepark

Fundraising continues for Phase 1 project
Friday, January 7, 2022
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Photo courtesy of the Friends of the Ruston Skatepark Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk poses with a skateboard deck designed by Ruston’s own Joey Slaughter, which Hawk signed to help ongoing fundraising efforts to construct a skatepark in Ruston.

As the first leg of fundraising to build a skatepark in Ruston nears the home stretch, the project has received some help for the second time from skateboarding’s biggest icon: Tony Hawk.

The Friends of the Ruston Skatepark organization is aiming to raise $100,000 by May to put toward first-phase construction of a city skatepark at the site of the old municipal pool, to which the city will add $125,000 in state funding it’s receiving for the project.

So far the Friends have raised about $43,000, and they’re hoping to cap off their efforts with an art auction in the spring.

The pièce de résistance for this auction? A skateboard designed by Friends member Joey Slaughter and signed by legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk.

The most prolific figure in professional skateboarding, the retired Hawk runs a charitable foundation that helps establish skateparks in communities where skaters have no safe, dedicated space to enjoy their hobby.

The Tony Hawk foundation was one of the first sponsors of the Ruston Skatepark when fundraising began.

Now, through connections made by Friends members Amanda Carrier and Cassie LeBlanc, Hawk signed Slaughter’s custom skateboard deck and will promote the project in an upcoming podcast episode put on by banking software company Nymbus, Synovus Bank and Locality Bank.

The board will soon make its way to Ruston. Kacey Richard, Friends of the Ruston Skatepark spokesperson, said the signed piece will be one of around 200 skateboards designed by artists across the country that will be auctioned off to help fund the project in May.

“We will put all of those boards up for display for the community to see, and then there will be a nationwide online auction for those boards,” Richard said. “We’re hoping to use this as our grand finale fundraiser.”

Phase 1 of construction will be the concrete work for the skatepark itself, plus a walking path around it and a restructuring of the restrooms at the site.

If the funds are in place, work could begin this summer, with the hope of a grand opening in the fall, Richard said.

“Then we’ll be able to hold better fundraisers for Phase 2 once Phase 1 is complete,” she said. “It’ll be a safe environment for people to come learn the sport.”

Phase 2 will feature a multipurpose art center, sculpture garden and food truck pad, with the goal of connecting the arts and skateboarding communities and providing an enjoyable place to hang out for all sorts of Ruston residents.

“The community has really embraced this project,” Richard said. “A lot of the money is coming from the local fundraisers. We’re selling merch, doing raffles, but also members of the community and businesses that see the value of this project have been donating personally, which has been really cool to see.”