To the Editor:

The Manchester Skate Park, located at the Dana L. Thompson Memorial Park needs your help.

Established in 1997 by local skaters, parents and community advocates, the skate park was built with donated labor and salvaged materials on an existing roller hockey court.

Free and open to the public with no restrictions except a skateboard, scooter or bike, the Skate Park has been a popular recreational outlet for Manchester's youth to burn off energy during the spring, summer and fall months.

Over the years, the Manchester Parks and Recreation Department together with local sponsors and volunteers have done their best to maintain the wooden and metal ramps, but heavy use and weather have taken their toll. With the newly built Park House adjacent to the Skate Park, it's an opportune time to assess and address the Skate Park's long-term needs.

As part of the March 2 Manchester Town Meeting, we are urging the residents of Manchester to authorize the Selectboard to transfer up to $50,000 from the Capital Improvement Reserve and Contingency Fund into the Recreation Fund to pay for a portion of the improvements. These funds would be made available and would be contingent on fund-raising and grants that come from other sources and would not exceed more than half of the actual funds expected for improvements. It's important to note that the authorization will not impact tax rates, as the funds are from a reserve fund. As avid skaters, parents and residents from Manchester and adjoining towns, we understand the importance of having accessible recreational outlets for our youth outside of the popular ski and snowboarding season. A Skate Park committee has been formed to build on the great work already done, with our goal to build a more permanent skate park; one that will last for decades and attract local youth and visitors during the quieter recreational seasons. We are grateful for the Town of Manchester and the Selectboard for their support of this initiative. They have given us an opportunity and a challenge and we seek your support on this first step towards rebuilding the Manchester Skate Park.

Huck Gibson Manchester Bill Strecker Dorset John Kelly Peru Patty and Sam Eisenhaur South Manchester Skate Park Committee