The city received a grant through a state program to go toward the planning costs of a reconstructed skate park in Philomath. (File photo by Logan Hannigan-Downs/Philomath News)

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department awarded the city of Philomath $18,000 through its Local Government Grant Program to assist in the planning efforts for a new skate park.

The grant, matched by $12,000 in this fiscal year’s city budget, will pay for the hiring of a company familiar with public skate parks to “facilitate planning and public outreach to ensure the needs of the community are met.”

The skate park with its current design opened in Philomath City Park in the summer of 2000. Questions about its configuration and safety have surfaced over the years, including a recent campaign by a local group to improve and update the facility. Many in the community have expressed support for the project through the signing of a petition and a city survey.

The City Council and Park Advisory Board have identified reconstruction of the skate park as a priority. The recently updated Parks and Trails Master Plan acknowledged potential for increased features and amenities to better serve all ages and skill levels.

As mentioned, costs related to planning include the hiring of consultants to work with city staff and volunteers, citizens and organizations to develop a site-specific plan.

Philomath last received a grant through the state program in the 2016 cycle to help develop Flossie Overman Discovery Park — that award totaling $201,756. This past spring, the City Council approved a resolution to authorize city staff to apply for the grant.

The Local Government Grant Program is a voter-approved, state lottery-funded grant program administered by the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department. Typically, the program awards over $5 million annually to qualified projects and has awarded over $60 million in grant funding since the program began in 1999.

Brad Fuqua, Philomath News

Brad Fuqua has covered the Philomath area since 2014 as the editor of the now-closed Philomath Express and currently as publisher/editor of the Philomath News. He has worked as a professional journalist since 1988 at daily and weekly newspapers in Nebraska, Kansas, North Dakota, Arizona, Montana and Oregon.