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Perham skate, bike park wins Tony Hawk grant

Local skateboard enthusiast James Kawlewski, at a demonstration that was held last summer in Perham.

Even legendary skateboard icon Tony Hawk is behind the Perham skate and bike park.

Well, at least his foundation is. On December 8, the Tony Hawk Foundation Board of Directors decided to award the Perham skate and bike park project a $5,000 grant.

The five grand, added to $21,376.11 in local pledges collected and $2,500 in uncollected local pledges brings the skatepark group up to a total of $28,876.11. This is nearly halfway to their goal of $60,000.

There was a total of 60 applicants who applied to the Tony Hawk Foundation for a grant to help with the construction of a public skatepark project. Only 27 communities were selected for the grants, given in amounts of either $25,000; $10,000; or $5,000.

Bemidji, Minnesota was one of only three communities in the nation to be awarded one of the $25,000 grants.

To date, the Tony Hawk Foundation has awarded more than $2.3 million to help support and partially fund 390 skatepark projects across the United States.

According to the Tony Hawk Foundation website: In his adolescent years, Tony Hawk considered the local skatepark his home away from home and skateboarding the sport that delivered him into a tight community, shaping his character and teaching him lessons in leadership, perseverance, and initiative.

Today, his two greatest passions are children and skateboarding. In recent years, skateboarding has grown to include more than 13 million participants in the United States; yet, only about 2,500 skateparks are available for them to ride.

After receiving thousands of e-mails from parents and children across America who either did not have a safe, legal place to skate or were ostracized- and, in some cases, arrested- for skating on public property, Tony decided to establish a foundation with a mission to serve this population.

For more information about the Tony Hawk Foundation, visit their website at