Baker County Youth Skate Park Committee andquot;caught some airandquot; when a number of interested parents and adult mentors stepped up to offer guidance and help for the youth in their efforts to build a bigger, better skateboarding facility at the Baker City Sam-O Park.

Ron Dickison is the new chairperson and Bryan Collard will act as vice-chairperson. Tim Collins and Jennifer Watkins will represent Baker City interests. Angie McVay volunteered to take on secretarial duties and Carmen Ott will assist her in tracking all volunteer hours expended on the project. Ott will also be assisting Dorthy Wooters with public relations and publicity.

Watkins of Baker City's Community Development Department will be writing applications for grants to fund the bulk of design and construction costs. Liz Estabrooks has offered to continue with grant writing efforts. Local donations are still being sought to help with construction and to leverage grant monies for the approximately 15,000 square foot addition.

The group is planning a number of fund-raisers and special events to heighten public awareness, promote the increasingly popular sport and to help pay for repairs and update skating features at the very small, but well-used 4,000 square foot skate park presently on site. The new addition, to be built east of the present basketball/ice skating court at Sam-O, is to be connected to the present skateboarding park with a andquot;street courseandquot; so coveted by the youth involved.

Beth Jager and Ginger Younger will co-chair these special events. They say they will need lots of help from other adult mentors as well as the youth.

Jesse Hatfield will continue to head up the construction committee. Hatfield, his employer Ron DeRoest, and a volunteer crew have been able to add several new features to the present park, with more to be added as time allows.

Supplies and materials were paid for with funds remaining from an Oregon Community Development grant for use at Sam-O Park through last year's Governor's Sustainability and Youth Employment Project.

Designs for the proposed new addition were submitted by Grindline, Inc. The initial designs were paid for with a grant from the Leo Adler Foundation. Grindline estimates the cost of construction could run as high as $280,000, but local in-kind donations could significantly reduce that figure.

Baker City, as a public entity, is required to solicit at least three bids through an open bidding process. All bids are welcome.

The preliminary designs may be reviewed at any time at the office of Jennifer Watkins in Baker City Community Development Department, or at future general meetings now scheduled on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at 6:30 p.m. at the Baker High School library.

Dickison strongly encourages more parent and adult mentor participation in guiding the enthusiastic 50 to 60 already involved youth, with more coming aboard all the time.

The next general meeting will be held Thursday, Sept. 12.