Tribute to Trent Skatepark in Strasburg seeks town funding to complete project

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 6:36 PM EDT
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STRASBURG, Va. (WHSV) - A skate park that has been in the works for more than a decade in Strasburg could soon be moving forward. The Tribute to Trent Skatepark group is hoping to get some funding from the town to get the project over the hump.

The skatepark would be built in honor of Trent Williams, a Strasburg boy who passed away after a battle with cancer in 2012.

“The bigger picture behind it was through the whole process with us with his illness, the town rallied together so well for us and really came together as a community and showed us that community support,” said Jennifer Williams, Trent’s mother. “I feel like I needed to do something bigger to show the town and my community that I appreciated their support when we were going through what we went through and I wanted our town to have something that drew other people to our town to see how great our town is.”

Jennifer Williams lost her son at 8 years old after a two-year battle with brain cancer. After his passing, she wanted to do something for the community in Trent’s honor, and the skatepark idea was born.

“Obviously it’s close to my heart so I’ve just been kind of trucking along and doing my best to get the funds there,” she said. “We have about 60 thousand dollars that we’ve raised within the past ten years. All of it is local, the whole goal of it was for it to kind of be raised by the community, built by the community you know, locals supporting locals.”

The skatepark would be built on a piece of land at Strasburg Park that was donated to the group by the town. The total cost to build the skatepark is around $310,000 but would have been nearly $400,000 were it not for Lee Gant, a local man who has volunteered to do all the excavating work for free.

“Because he’s donated all of the excavation and land disturbance we’re actually able to use local contractors to further reduce that cost. With his donation, we’ve basically got our skate park down to half the national average cost,” said Wyatt Vaughn, a member of the Tribute to Trent Skatepark group.

Vaught has been skating for 20 years and moved to Strasburg with his wife in 2019, shortly after he got involved with the Tribute to Trent Skatepark and has since headed up the design side of the project.

“I saw kind of what they had and what they had been doing and basically I just wanted to help because I used to live in Winchester and I had seen that skate park effort kind of go a little bit sideways and so I just wanted to be involved in that to make sure the same mistakes weren’t made again to make sure if they built a park they built something that would last,” he said.

Vaught has worked with the American Ramp Company on the skatepark design that is now complete.

“A lot of times when you go and get a big professional skatepark built there is a huge focus on transition, big half pipes, big ramps, big bowls, things that are kind of hard to learn on,” he said. “My whole idea was basically we need to build a park that caters to street skaters because that’s the majority of skateboarders, to begin with.”

The group is now seeking just under $153,000 from the town that would cover the rest of the skatepark’s costs and allow construction to begin later this year. The Strasburg Town Council tabled the request at its meeting on Tuesday night and will consider it in April.

“Last night’s meeting was pretty positive, it felt positive all around. They all agree that they have to look at numbers before they make a decision for the budget but all around it sounded like they all want it to happen it’s just a matter of how much they can give us if they’re going to give us any,” said Williams.

Williams said that she believes the park will have a positive impact on the town.

“Pulling people to something positive, doing something good and positive. It’s not necessarily just for kids it’s for people of all ages, it’s recreational, it gets people out from in front of their screens, it just seemed like the right thing to do, a good, positive thing to get people outside,” she said.