Nederland is finally getting its skatepark, and it couldn’t have come quickly enough. Thanks to the countless hours put in by the NEDSK8 board members and numerous grants and donations the Nathan Lazarus Skatepark was able to go through with its groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday.
The hard work of those involved in the project will soon come to fruition as the structure of concrete and metal gets underway in the next few weeks.
“We’re getting close,” said Randy Lee, one of the founders of NEDSK8 and the lead speaker at the ceremony. “It was really the youths who recruited the adults from the community to help get this going.”
The overall feeling to the ceremony was one of relief and excitement; and there was a certain youthfulness about the guys of NEDSK8, who seemed just as anxious to start skateboarding the new park as the kids.
One such self-described “curmudgeonly old skateboarder,” Ric Widener, has played a vital role for his experience in constructing other skateparks for the YMCA. As another member, Paul Bolger said, “it’s been Ric’s personal mission to make sure there are no screw-ups.”
When the park was first proposed at a Nederland board meeting nearly five years ago — Chris Perret was Mayor at that time — he instantly became an advocate and is now even a part of NEDSK8’s board. He spoke of the park as an asset to Nederland in terms of its revenue generation. “When this thing’s done, the money’s gonna start rollin’ in,” he said. He also noted how the parents of the young skaters who come up from Boulder will inevitably be visiting the towns tourist district as their kids are skating.
There’s also a bit of celebrity involvement in the park’s culmination, via legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk. Hawk was on the game show “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader” and answered some of the tougher questions with the assistance of a young boy named Nathan Lazarus. As a result of the show, Nathan helped win the Tony Hawk Foundation $175,000, $50,000 of which which was donated toward the completion of the Nederland Skatepark. To fulfill Hawk’s promise to his helper, the skatepark will bear Nathan’s name.
At the ceremony was Elizabeth Lazarus, Nathan’s mom, who spoke very highly of her son as an activist and an intellectual. “I’m very proud to have him involved in such a great cause,” she said. “This is such an honor.” Nathan couldn’t attend, since he was away at camp.
In Randy Lee’s speech expressing thanks to the Tony Hawk Foundation he mistakenly sited the game show which Nathan was on as “Are you smarter than a skateboarder,” much to the amusement of the crowd. He then thanked the many individuals, businesses and foundations that “believed in us, even though we were newbies at this.”
In conjunction to Hawk’s Foundation and many other organizations and local individuals, the Great Outdoors of Colorado group granted the park its highest grant award, pushing it within the budgeted range. “This gave us instant viability,” said Lee. The shovels were passed out, and the NedSk8 Board and town officials thankfully sank their tools into the dirt, and turned over the first ground.