DAN OLUITT can be seen jumping into Hopkins Lake in Owosso on Saturday, March 17 during the 2018 Owosso Plunge for Parks. The event was spearheaded by the Owosso Parks and Recreation Commission to raise money to build a new skate park in Owosso.

  More than $5,000 was raised during this year’s Plunge for Parks, which moves the commission’s total funds raised closer to the $30,000 goal. Through community crowdfunding and fundraising events, the commission hopes to meet its goal by Monday, April 30 in order to receive a $30,000 matching grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

(Independent Photo/Graham Sturgeon)


by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor

The 2018 Owosso Plunge for Parks took place on Saturday, March 17, with five courageous souls braving the late-winter elements to jump into Hopkins Lake in Owosso. This year’s Plunge raised more than $5,000, with the five jumpers, Justin Horvath, Randy Woodworth, Dan Loynes, Brandon Maine and Dan Oluitt, contributing a large portion of that total.

The event was part of the Owosso Parks and Recreation Commission’s fundraising campaign to build a new, “state-of-the-art” skate park in Owosso. The effort to replace the city’s outdated skate park – located near the intersection of Gould Street and Corunna Avenue – began in 2015. From the beginning, the youth of Owosso have played an active role in planning the skate park by regularly attending commission meetings, helping to design the skate park and working to raise funds.

Phase I of the skate park plan is estimated to cost $85,000 and would feature a large skate bowl and steps. The Parks and Recreation Commission raised $25,000 prior to 2018, leaving $60,000 left to raise. The current fundraising goal is $30,000, which needs to be raised by April 30 to take full advantage of a matching $30,000 MEDC grant that would fully fund Phase I.

The new skate park will be located at Grove Holman Park, which is bordered by Hampton Avenue and Walnut Street, just west of M-52. The plan will utilize the park’s existing restrooms, parking lot, concession area and former pool building in an effort to turn the park into a “year-round active space.” The park’s sledding hill entertains youngsters during the winter months, and organizers hope the new skate park will ensure year-round enjoyment.

The skate park fundraising campaign has continued the community-wide momentum that has led to the revitalization of several Owosso parks. Some of the park improvements made over the past decade include a playscape, splash pad and skating rink at Bentley Park; a new playscape and a revitalized ball field at Adams Memorial Park; and a bark park, biking/walking trail, disc golf course and community garden at Collamer Park. All of these improvements were made possible due to community-wide fundraising and the help of many volunteers; without the use of city tax dollars.

Parks and Recreation Chairman Mike Espich has created a Patronicity crowdfunding page, which provides a detailed explanation of the motivation behind the push for a skatepark and a preliminary design of the park, as well as an opportunity to donate to the cause. The page can be viewed at www.patronicity.com/project/owosso_skate_park_phase_2#1/.

Checks should include “skate park donation” on the memo line and payments may be mailed to City Hall, 301 W. Main St., Owosso, MI 48867.


Taking the Plunge for Owosso Youth was last modified: March 26th, 2018 by Karen Elford