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Hamilton skate park expected to break ground in late summer

The Montana Skate Park Association held an art auction that raised $45,000 for the Hamilton park. Circle 13 board president Bryan Dufresne said the donation puts bank account numbers over the hurdle so construction can begin at Claudia Driscoll Park in August or September.

After years of fundraising and planning the city of Hamilton will finally have a skate park. Ground is expected to be broken at Claudia Driscoll Park late this summer.

The Montana Skate Park Association recently held an art auction that raised $45,000 for the Hamilton Park. It's an important hurdle to begin construction.

Circle 13 board president Bryan Dufresne has been working to get a skate park in Hamilton for a decade. He said the latest donation puts bank account numbers over the hump.

"Our target is $300,000," he said. "We're sitting at over $250,000, which means, no matter what, we will be building a skate park in late August or early September."

The park will be built on the northwest corner of Claudia Driscoll Park. It's close to the playground and infrastructure like restrooms. It's just north of the old Armory, which is slated to become Hamilton's new police headquarters.

Dufresne was a skateboarder when he was a kid in Stevensville. But he said at that time there was no place to skate.

"I remember in junior high being chased out of church parking lots," he said, "and being run off of local businesses."

As an adult he understands the liability issues those businesses faced. He thinks the park will be a good centralized location for his own kids to skate.

"Along with being healthy and out of doors," he said, "I think communities are formed. Kids need to play."

Brianna Fox skateboards to work. She skates for fun too. She's thrilled there will be a park in her hometown.

"I just long board around," she said. "But some of the people you will see here down at the skate park will be fantastic."

She said it will be more convenient than driving to skate parks in Darby and Stevensville.

NBC Montana spent a few minutes on Wednesday at the Stevensville skate park, where there were a number of kids skating.

The Hamilton park will be similar but larger. It will be about 13,000 square feet, which will make it the largest skate park in Ravalli County.

Dufresne said it will feature a big bowl or two, plus full stairs, rails, ledges and curbs -- features that you would find on your typical street.

"It basically takes the art form of skating within a community," he said, "and puts it in a skate park."

Dufresne said there are a couple fundraisers slated for this summer. One will be a BBQ at Evans Ace Hardware in Hamilton this Saturday. Another will be a motorcycle scavenger hunt on July 14.

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