SPARTA, Ky - Small town, America. Not much to do during the summer once school lets out for the year. No big surprise there. But two skateboarding teens changed that for their town.
"That's all we ever do around here is skate. There's nothing else in Sparta to ever do," said 14-year-old Logan Bailey of Sparta, Ky.
Colton Matt and Bailey have been friends for six years because of Sparta’s skate park—or what is known as the skate park. With only one ramp and two rails, the two friends yearned for more.
Two years ago, when they were both 12 years old, their young minds set their sights on making a change.
"We was walking back from the park and me and him was talking to ourselves and thought 'yeah, this isn't what we want. We want something better than this,'" said Matt.
Their next step was going to a Sparta City Council meeting, to make their plea to the mayor and council. It was not, however, a plea for money, but rather a plea for support in their mission.
"We just asked them straight up if we could build a skate park, if we did all the work and if they could match us. And they said they could," said Bailey about their first initiative for what would be a new place to hang out.
Colton's mom, Darlene encouraged them every step of the way they said, helping them set up fundraiser after fundraiser; year after year.
"The first thing they did, they stood in front of the store for eight hours and collected over a thousand dollars," she remembered. "Then we did a fall festival... a fish fry... then we did another fall festival."
Their town, two surrounding counties, and their community came together for the two boys and their mission.
"It meant a lot to us because it showed that people actually believed in us that we could do it," said Colton.
"Two years is a long time to a 12-year-old. And they persevered... a penny here and a penny there and it added up," said Darlene, looking out at what her son and his friend created with a dream and some immeasurable ambition.
But when all was said and done, the two fell short of the $25,000 they needed to build an addition onto the existing skate park. So, the city council did more than match the $8,000 they raised. They put the remaining $17,000 into the park so that the boys could enjoy their efforts while they were still young.
Construction is almost done.
"From this point on, is our old skate ramp and from here all the way down to the end is where our new ramp is suppose to be," said Colton, pointing out the solitary ramp and the newer side of the park’s ramps and steps for skateboarding tricks.
Colton and Bailey take to their skateboards and roll down the ramp, slide across the bars and flip the boards on the concrete, in anticipation for what they will be able to do soon on the park’s new ramps.
The 14-year-olds built their friendship while skating; now, they are building their skate park together as friends.
They expect that the park will be completed this week, thanks to county workers volunteering their time.
They will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 23, officially opening the new and improved skate park at Sparta Park.
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