When Cleves was awarded a WeTHRIVE! Community Wellness Mini-Grant five months ago, I had no idea that we were in for such a roller coaster—or should I say, quarter-pipe—ride!
It all started as we returned from the mini-grant kick-off meeting in February. Driving past the Public Library and Senior Center in Cleves, we saw kids riding their skateboards out front. Fellow councilmember Bev Meyer commented that she wished the kids wouldn’t skateboard there, especially on the handicap ramps. A light bulb went off in my head—these kids don’t WANT to skate there, but they have nowhere else to go!
This thought stayed with me as we worked through the WeTHRIVE! process. Sure enough, our community assessment showed a lack of recreational outlets for youth on the west side of US Route 50. We decided to install a skate park in the parking lot next to the Cleves Municipal/Police Building.
Fast forward to the last two weeks in June. Blue Chip Pavement resurfaced the lot (donating a huge portion of their services). Linda Bolton, Nancy Nichols and I, along with our husbands and other friends, spent three hot days installing new fencing. And this past Saturday, 15 volunteers came out to help put up the skate park equipment. It was wonderful to see people from all parts of Cleves working so hard to create a new space for the kids to use.
Today, when you drive by the library/senior center, the steps are free of skateboarders. They’re all down at the new skate park, doing their kickturns, carving, and popping Ollies (not that I know how to do these moves!) in a safe space they can call their own. That makes it all worthwhile!
Jan Pastrick is the Cleves WeTHRIVE! team leader and a member of the village council. See more photos on the Cleves and WeTHRIVE! facebook pages. A ribbon-cutting will take place at the skate park on July 28.