ARTICLES

A Well Deserved Thank You

Saturday.April.01.2006

When the 'Ian Kortbek Memorial Skatepark' project was becoming more of a dream than a reality the 'Tony Hawk Foundation' stepped up big and helped us out with a very generous donation. I would like to again extend the thank you from everyone involved in the project to the 'Tony Hawk Foundation'. Below is a copy of an article they printed on their website and brochures regarding the 'Ian Kortbek memorial Skatepark'.

Block Island, Rhode Island - Awarded $10,000

With a year-round population of only 800, and over one-fourth of the small island dedicated as a wildlife reserve, recreation facilities on Block Island are very limited. In 1999, after being banned from skateboarding around town, skaters Ian Kortbek and Edward Stover wrote a letter to the town requesting a skatepark. They proceeded to lobby for the park and generated strong community support. With backing from the local Lion's Club, the grassroots project gained momentum and numerous fundraisers were held.

In 2001, a traffic accident took Ian's life. Determined to complete the skatepark in his memory, the community rallied on. In 2003, after four years of fundraising and working toward Ian's dream, they requested bids on the concrete pad, and to their dismay material costs had almost doubled since they began their efforts. Determined to stick with the original design, they decided to continue fundraising until the additional cost was covered.

After an extraordinary display of perseverance and hard work they were only $10,000 away from realizing their new goal when they applied for a Tony Hawk Foundation grant. The Board of Directors awarded them the well-deserved funds, and the Ian Kortbek Memorial Skate Park opened later that year. "Time after time we had thought that the project would never be completed," writes Edward Stover, now away at college. "The town kept telling us of new ordinances that needed to be followed, and new building materials that would need to be paid for. It seemed that we would never be able to raise enough money, but with countless fundraisers, letters upon letters to local contributors, pleading at meeting after meeting, and your greatly appreciated contribution, we finally reached our goal."

The years of hard work paid off with a sense of accomplishment and a skatepark that benefits the entire community. "The reception by the community for the skatepark has been overwhelmingly favorable," says skatepark-committee leader Ray Torrey. "The park is very busy-even when the weather turns cold. The skaters have learned that persistence pays off-where there is a will there is a way. We [town officials/adult community members] are impressed with how attractive and trouble-free it has turned out to be, and how much it has added to our community!"

-Eddie

Skatepark Memorial Installed

Saturday.November.01.2003

The following apeared in the June 1, 2003 issue of the Block Island Times

A granite monument was installed at the Ian Kortbek Memorial Skatepark Monday, Oct. 27, exactly one year after the death of the young Block Island School graduate for whom the park is named.

Along with schoolmate Eddie Stover, Ian Kortbek, who died in a car accident along Corn Neck Road, was one of the early promoters of the skatepark. The park opened this summer to the delight of the island’s skating enthusiasts.

The four-sided pillar features inscription on two sides and an engraving with the shape of the island behind a skateboarder making a soulful turn. One side reads: "Ian Kortbek;" the other side gives the date of the park’s opening: "Skateboard Park, August 2003." Both sides of the pillar can easily be read when approaching the park.

The monument was paid for by the Ian Kortbek Scholarship Fund. Ian’s mother, Cynthia Rabey, as well as Police Chief William McCombe and Mike Nolan are administering the fund.

The charity is unique, because rather than requiring that the money be used for school tuition and expenses, it can be used for adventurous outings. "It’s for students who want to travel or have an adventure," said Rabey.

-Eddie

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