By Jennifer Grimes

Triplicate staff writer

Del Norte County children are stepping up to the plate this Saturday to do their part for a skateboard park.

For 12 hours straight, children who have been collecting pledges for the last few weeks will roll, walk and ride around the fairgrounds rollercade in hopes of raising enough cash to get a first class park for the community.

We adults have done our part, I hope the kids understand that theyre on now, and that they come through for this. Or else they may prove the naysayers right, said Joe Gillespie, a sixth-grade teacher at Crescent Elk Middle School.

Gillespie and his students came up with the idea of the skate-a-thon two months ago after the Crescent City Council agreed to grant land for the park during a public meeting.

At that time, approximately $92,000 had been set aside by the state for Del Norte County to build the skating facility. But thats not enough, according to Ben Angove, the county administrative officer overseeing the project.

Angove said building a decent park would cost more like $250,000. And because the park is primarily for children, City Council members and county supervisors have asked that the children help raise the rest of the money.

A savings account has been opened at Coast Central Credit Union just for that purpose.

Gillespie said he put $700 of collected donations in the account yesterday. And hes expecting at least 500 children who have collected their own donations at the event on Saturday.

The skate-a-thon is only for those who have helped raise money for the park. Although, if children who havent collected pledges would like to participate, they may by purchasing a skate-a-thon t-shirt at the door.

This isnt just a free skate at the rollercade. They must bring their pledge forms and flat donations to get in. Or they can buy a t-shirt for $10, Gillespie said.

The more pledges or donations a child collects, the more fantastic the prize they will earn. For collecting $50, the reward is a free t-shirt and two raffle tickets. For collecting $1,000 donations, the reward is a gift certificate to Noll Surf Shop worth $200.

To best accommodate all the age groups who want to participate, event day has been broken into specific categories:

9 a.m. to 11 a.m. all rollerbladers.

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 7-year-olds and younger with families.

1 p.m. to 3 p.m. 8- to 12-year-olds.

3 p.m. to 5 p.m. 12- to 15-year-olds.

5 p.m. to 7 p.m. 15- to 18-year-olds.

7 p.m. to 9 p.m. 19-year-olds and up.