By Amy Calder firstname.lastname@example.org
WATERVILLE — David Dutil is anxious for spring to arrive so the city’s skateboard park off Green Street can be improved.
Those improvements would not be possible without the 22-year-old’s effort to raise $5,000 for the park. He already has raised about $400. “Currently there really isn’t too much for skateboarders to use there,” Dutil said. “There’s a concrete slab and block and a few small aluminum ramps. It’s not a very challenging park at all.” Dutil, a Thomas College sophomore majoring in communications and sports management, wants to add obstacles to make the park more challenging and help improve safety there by erecting signs displaying rules. The park, built several years ago in the South End, has fallen into disrepair, is outdated and has been vandalized, according to Parks & Recreation Director Matt Skehan. Skehan said his crew will add the new features once Dutil has raised the money and equipment is purchased. Dutil, an Army veteran who was an intern at Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce last year and works there this year as part of a work-study program, contacted Skehan last year to say he wanted to raise money for the skateboard park. “He’s been a very ambitious young man up to this point, and he keeps me posted,” Skehan said Thursday. With tight budgets, money is not typically put into accounts for skateboard parks and the like, so having someone like Dutil launch the project is welcome, Skehan said. “It takes people like him that are willing to do things privately,” he said. “It’s the only way it’s going to work in this economy.” The Parks & Recreation Department does whatever it can to maintain the skateboard park short of buying new equipment, as money is not available and equipment is just too costly, Skehan said. “We clean it up, we mow, we trim,” he said. Meanwhile, the city of Augusta built a new skateboard park and donated some of its old equipment to the Waterville park, and that will be installed in the spring, according to both Dutil and Skehan. Dutil said a fundraising event will be held 4 to 9 p.m. May 2 at Applebee’s restaurant on Kennedy Memorial Drive. Diners must bring in a flyer they can obtain by contacting Dutil at 313-2006 or email@example.com. Donate to Skate, also known as Dining to Donate, will contribute 15 percent of diners’ bills to the Skatepark Association of Waterville for park improvements. A flapjack benefit event was hosted at the restaurant Feb. 3, he said. Dutil said he is asking potential sponsors for donations. He said people can donate by contacting him or logging on to Skatepark Association of Waterville’s Facebook page. Amy Calder — 861-9247