Tony Hawk Visits Detroit Skate Park
International skateboarding star Tony Hawk touched down today at Detroit’s Ride It Sculpture Park (the subject of last week’s cover story) at about 1:30 p.m. The park, largely funded by a grant — the largest ever — from the Tony Hawk Foundation, had been spruced up over the last week, the exuberant graffiti scrubbed clean in advance of the Birdman’s visit. The visit, recorded by crews from Hawk’s nonprofit, will be the centerpiece in a video presentation about the good works that get funding. The park’s co-creator, Mitch Cope of Powerhouse Project, a neighborhood effort to improve and promote the area through artistic endeavors, was all smiles, saying that Hawk declared the park to be exactly the sort of challenging urban course he had hoped his foundation would fund.
Hawk, who has family in Detroit, sounded like a good guy who gets the city, both its challenges and the way it’s misperceived. Hawk said, “Detroit gets a bad rap all the time. It’s used as an example of a dilapidated place or places that have been abandoned and that’s not true of it all. I have family here, so, I know a little bit about it, but to see it first-hand, right here, makes it much more of a reality.”
Thanks to Hawk, his foundation, and the publicity that follows in his wake, this effort is only going to become larger and more prominent. And next month, the park will be expanded, as Phase II of Ride It Sculpture Park breaks ground with a crew arriving soon from Portland, Ore.