Story last updated at 4:13 p.m. Thursday, July 25, 2002

Rotary donates to skateboarders
by Carey James
Staff Writer

The Homer Skateboarding Association received help toward new ramps and a facility from an unusual source. The Kyoto Fushimi Rotary Club, Homer's sister club, announced it will donate $4,000 toward the skaters' cause, a donation that will be matched by the Homer club over the next three years.

A symbolic tree-planting ceremony will be held today at 10 a.m. at the Homer Chamber of Commerce. Several members of the Kyoto Fushima Rotary Club will be on hand to make the donation.

"We are very excited," said Bob Shavelson of the association. "We are very appreciative. It's so important for these kids to see progress."

The Homer Skateboarding Association has been working for several years to find a home. After one site behind McDonald's was ruled out, a new site in front of the Homer Boys and Girls Club was identified.

Homer City Manager Ron Drathman said the city is working hard to find a company that will pave the area in the next month.

Next on the to-do list will be a more concrete design of the park's ramps and layout, Shavelson said. The park is expected to cost between $55,000 and $60,000, most of which will go toward the purchase of steel ramps.

"From the research we've done, the metal ramps come out on top," Shavelson said.

The association said the Rotary funding will help provide leverage for additional business support in town, and will be added to the $7,000 the youths have already raised.

"It's a great boost," he said.

Steve Yoshida, the international service chair of the Homer Kachemak Bay Rotary Club, said the club has always supported youth activities, and suggested the skateboarders when asked by the sister club where the donation could be best used.

"There is a lack of things to do for kids in Homer," Yoshida said. "They really need a place of their own. We're happy to participate in helping to fund it."

The tree-planting ceremony will take place at the Homer Chamber of Commerce Visitor Information Center because the area in front of the proposed skateboard park is not ready for beautification yet.