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Skate Park is to be rebuilt

By Erin O'Connor

Staff Writer

WEST SPRINGFIELD A seven year old skate park at Cook Playground will be reopened through the work of a father, a car company and the city of West Springfield.

"Young people need a place to go to participate in something constructive," said Mike DuBoise, father of three and major point man in getting the Park renovated.

DuBoise, vice president for finance at Balise Motor Sales collaborated with Balise president, Jeb Balise and the city's recreation department director, Dom Longo and supervisor Vicki Connor in coordinating the project of rebuilding the Park.

Balise will pay the amount of $60,067 covering the entire cost of rebuilding the skate park.

The number was comprised through a subcommittee organized through the City's Recreation Department Chair, Aldo Paier.

The subcommittee included Mary Ruth Kane and Vickie Connor who sought opinions on what equipment the Park should have through local teens Bill Fitzsimmons, A.J. Pare and Brett Berchulski.

"The main piece of equipment is a half-pipe. Another large obstacle contains a pyramid, a staircase and a railing. There are also some smaller obstacles," said DuBois.

There is talk of a skateboard safety event once the Park is open, DuBois said.

The equipment for the new Skate Park was ordered on June 13 said DuBois.

"The lead-time is normally three weeks and I think it is being manufactured in Minnesota. If we get lucky, we could install it on Saturday, July 1st before the Fourth... Worst case would be the weekend of July 15," said DuBois.

Balise is in the process of arranging for members of their collision repair unit to do the assembly. That has yet, however, to be formalized DuBois told MetroWest.

The Park will be named the Balise Scion Skate Park.

"It will give the Scion brand some exposure among the young people in the community. The exposure is not worth anywhere near $60,000, so the overwhelming reason we are doing this is to be good corporate citizens in a town where we have such a large presence," said DuBois.

"Funding the skate park equipment is a major commitment to the town of West Springfield," said DuBois.

DuBois mentioned that Balise has been involved with numerous organizations in the Community such as STCC, Providence Health Systems, Brightside, West Springfield Partnership for Education, William Ross School, Habitat for Humanity, and many others.

"Unfortunately, we cannot support every request that comes our way. We concentrate our charitable efforts on initiatives that involve children and/or education."said DuBois

"Every year each dealership sponsors a needy family at Christmas in conjunction with the Springfield Public Schools," DuBois said.

"Balise Ford of Westfield hosted a field trip for some West Springfield Middle School students recently who are at risk for dropping out of school. A diverse group of sales associates, technicians and clerical associates spent time with these students sharing their own life experiences trying to encourage them to stay in school," said DuBois.

DuBoise said that although planning has not been finalized he is hoping that there will be a ribbon-cutting event in conjunction with the town when the Park is set to open. The Park can be found off of Amostown Road.