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Grindline wins $888,000 contract to construct new skate facility in Optimist Park

Photo courtesy of Jim Block. The old skatepark in Optimist Park in Port Huron is slated for demolition and replacement by a new skate facility.

By Jim Bloch

The new skatepark in Port Huron’s Optimist Park will be built by Grindline Skateparks, of Seattle, Washington.

Grindline underbid the Farmington Hills-based LaSalle Group by nearly a half-million dollars.

Grindline submitted a bid of $888,436; the LaSalle Group came in at $1,349,000.

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The Port Huron City Council voted unanimously to award the contract to Grindline at its regular meeting on May 9.

“This is a budgeted item,” said City Manager James Freed, as heard on the recording of the meeting posted on the city’s website. “It is slightly over budget. We budgeted $750,000.”

Freed said the city would use funds from the American Rescue Plan to pay for the difference.

The 3.2-acre park is located at 10th Avenue and Whipple Street.

“This has been talked about for years,” said Freed. “The skating community had a role in the design, so I want to thank all those people who participated in the design during COVID on the conference calls. Those young folks called in and offered their insight and expertise.”

“Didn’t they also raise funds?” asked Mayor Pauline Repp.

“Yes they did,” said Freed. “They even sold candy bars to raise money.”

“They need to be congratulated,” said Repp. “They had a grassroots effort to get this done.”

“They put their sweat equity in this and went around begging for this,” said council member Anita Ashford. “That is very admirable.”

The old skate park will be demolished to make room for the new one. The new park will be shaped out of 10,000 square feet of poured concrete. The recreation department expects installation to be complete by December.

“The city received matching grants awards from the Tony Hawk Foundation and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Land and Water Conservation Fund, as well as local private donations, to design and construct this skatepark,” said Freed in his memo to Repp and the council. The Hawk Foundation kicked in $250,000. “The city has worked for nearly two years with the Optimist Skatepark Design Advisory Committee, the Tony Hawk Foundation and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation on the design of this skatepark that will boast a variety of features for all skill levels and ages.”

Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation also contributed funding to the project.

“The resulting design ensures that this unique park will be a draw for the City of Port Huron, both regionally and statewide,” Freed said.

The MDNR will review the plans prior to issuing a Notice to Proceed ahead of the start of work. 

Jim Bloch is a freelance writer based in St. Clair, Michigan. Contact him at

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