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Skateboard funds frozen by governor

Jennifer Grimes

Triplicate staff writer

A promise by State Senator Wes Chesbro to set aside $98,500 for a Crescent City skateboard park has fallen through.

Although Chesbro made the request and the money was set aside, the fund was frozen in November, according to Del Norte County grants manager, Leslie Zondervan-Droz.

I understand the governor has absconded with the $98,000, said Del Norte County Supervisor David Finigan yesterday.

The money was part of a fund called the members request fund, set aside by the governor for state representatives special projects.

Chesbro, following a request from Del Norte County officials, asked for $100,000 to be set aside for a local skateboard park.

But as budget projections were reviewed last November, many planned expenditures were put on hold.

I was told all funds are frozen that fell into this category, Zondervan-Droz said.

To try to recover the promised money, Del Norte County Board of Supervisors chair, Chuck Blackburn, has been on the phone with Chesbros office.

He said yesterday, there may be hope of getting the money back, but didnt expand on why.

In the meantime, Zondervan-Droz said a competitive grant for $180,000 the county applied for a few months ago is not frozen and is still a very real possibility.

In addition, the county received another grant from The California Endowment for $15,000 which will help hire a design firm for the park.

That money will be put in a special account for use by the Del Norte Teen Center/Skateboard Park Committee, a group of private citizens now in the process of becoming a private, nonprofit group.

We want to get the design process going so when we hear back on the (state) funding we will be ready to get started, said committee chair Kathy Stephens

Toward this end, Stephens said a new request for qualifications will be released soon. The request for qualifications released last summer brought only two responses and Stephens said the committee would like to see a broader response.

The $15,000 grant was formally accepted by the Board of Supervisors yesterday in their regular meeting. Supervisor Clyde Eller cast the only vote against it.

The award letter states that the grant is for a teen center. In no place in the wording does it say skatepark, Eller said, concerned that if the money is used improperly it will have to be paid back.

When asked if the skatepark would be an improper use of the grant, The California Endowments grants coordinator Mitchell Singer would not answer The Daily Triplicates question.

Zondervan-Droz said the money will not have to be paid back and expects a check within three weeks.


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