HAMILTON – Years of planning and fundraising will be celebrated this weekend as Hamilton officially takes the wrapper off its new skate park.
But it looks like the waiting was worth it, as skaters from all over the region could end up using what will be the largest skating area in Montana west of the Continental Divide.
It was early last fall when Hamilton skate park supporters and city officials gathered to break ground on the new facility, which has been the dream of skaters, parents and supporters for at least a decade in the Bitterroot.
The new facility opened Saturday.
Volunteers, including some of the skaters, were busy Friday putting the finishing touches on the new park, at 13,000 square feet, which is not only the largest skate facility in the Bitterroot Valley, but organizers say it’s even larger than Missoula.
While the park has the usual features like a deep bowl for advanced skaters, this new design is a much more “free-flowing” affair, which will give skaters of all abilities a chance to practice and grow in their skills.
The park was made possible through local donations and sponsors, but also through the generous support of Pearl Jam bassist and Montanan Jeff Ament, who has helped to build parks all across the state.
When the voters approved a bond for the purchase of Claudia Driscoll Park two years ago, that allowed the city to provide the land for the final missing piece.
Ament is expected for Saturday’s opening, which is set to begin at 11 a.m. and last until about 2 p.m.
-Reported by Dennis Bragg/MTN News