$80,000 Doyle family grant brings Tosa Skatepark closer

Published on: 6/4/2013

Wauwatosa residents Judy and Mike Doyle have offered a Jack Doyle Memorial Challenge grant of $80,000 toward the construction of the planned Tosa Skatepark in Hart Park, seeking matching grants from the city and from Tosa Skateboarders United.

At the same time, planning will begin this week for an $11,000 outdoor classroom — the Hart Park Gathering Area — to be built at the corner of 72nd and Chestnut streets, near the Hart Park Senior Center. Judy Doyle said the skate park will be located about 71st and Chestnut, designed to complement the Gathering Area, which will be built first.

If the Common Council concurs, the city will match the Doyle grant with $80,000, toward a total goal from all three sources of $240,000. That would be enough to proceed with a 7,000- to 8,000-square-foot park, scaled back from original plans, Judy Doyle said. The first plan had called for the construction of a skate park twice as big that would have cost $650,000, she said. It was a daunting figure that had hindered fundraising.

Judy Doyle said TSU has collected more than $30,000, and if all goes well, construction could begin next year. The park will accommodate skateboarding, inline rollerblading and BMX biking. Information on how to contribute is available at www.tosaskate.org.

Of the family grant, Doyle said, "It's pretty much Jack's college money, what we would have used to send Jack to college."

Family stays committed

Jack Doyle, a skateboarder and avid inline skater, died of strangulation in 2006 at the age of 13. In initial reports the police called the death a suicide, but further investigation suggested Jack had been involved in a choking game, a practice that produces a momentary high.

"Jack was 11 years old when Tosa Skateboarders United got started in 2004. He was really involved with it. Very sadly, he died two years later," his mom said. "Recently, Mike and I have become very involved with TSU, and decided ... that maybe if we could get a little stimulus going by doing this challenge grant to the city and also to TSU, we could get something smaller, like a Phase I type park, down in Hart Park."

Judy Doyle said a skateboard park is expensive to design, and requires extensive, and in some places specially treated, concrete. The larger, more expensive plan also included a bowl, which accounted for about a third of the cost, she said. The bowl is not part of the scaled-back plan.

The city portion of the funding would be supplied by proceeds from the sale of property at the public works yard. In 2007, the city sold 18 acres at the corner of 113th Street and Walnut Road to a developer for multifamily housing. The money was set aside to be used toward costs associated with Hart Park, and since the skate park is in the master plan for the park, it would qualify, city Finance Director John Ruggini said.

The Gathering Area

The Gathering Area is a project of the Friends of Hart Park Foundation. It will be a 52-by-52-foot garden area, with picnic tables, said Carol Wehrley, a member of the Friends board. It, too, is part of the master plan for Hart Park.

The $11,000 cost includes $2,000 for plants and trees. Wehrley said most of the money was raised through grants. A granite surface will be installed and there will be stone seating and a concrete wall, she said.

"It will be an area where the Scouts can come in and learn about native plants and water conservation and stability of the soil and things of that sort," she said.

The Friends of Hart Park have been working with school administrators about the possibility of using it as an outdoor classroom.

"So it will have varied uses," she said.

David Frank Landscape of Germantown is the contractor for the project, submitting a low bid among five bidders of $5,405, according to a city proposal sheet.

Wehrley said the Gathering Area will have an opening ceremony with a ribbon cutting at noon July 2, or July 3 if it rains.