It's been awhile since I've written anything new about the skate plaza project, but last night was just so damned cool that I don't have a choice but to share it.
As (most of) you know already, my son Austin is leading a large project to build a world-class skateboard plaza here in St. Cloud. You can check out all the details here.
By all estimates, the total cost of this project will most likely exceed one million dollars, which is a ton of money for any organization to raise. However, our Mayor has recently committed to approving the construction of the plaza in 2008 if we can raise $250,000 by the end of this year, with the balance to be paid over the next several years. To that end, Austin has been writing letters and grants, and meeting with business presidents, CEOs and civic organizations nonstop for the last 6 months in an effort to secure this amount in pledges or donations by December 31st.
Then, just last week he received this email from the local branch of our Optimist Club:
I have some great news for you today.
The St. Cloud Morning Optimist Club has approved a commitment of $50,000.00 total to be paid over the next five years. This will be offered as a challenge grant where we will match other contributors dollar for dollar up to the $50,000 commitment..."
The letter goes on to describe how he envisioned the presentation of the award so as to inspire other businesses to step up to the challenge and make their own donations as well.
Here is Austin receiving the check last night.
Needless to say he's been on cloud 9 all week, and last night was a major, giant, HUGE step toward his dream come true. By nature of the challenge grant, this means that if other people donate $50,000, the Optimist Club will match the $50,000 themselves for a total of $100,000 - better than a 3rd of the way to construction!
And if that wasn't exciting enough for the young man, he was also elected Vice Chairman of the Park and Recreation Board at the end of the last session. That's a pretty big honor but normally doesn't require much additional duty. Unless of course the Chairman can't make it to a board meeting - in which case the Vice Chair has to run the show.
Uh... guess who was in charge last night?