Friends and family of slain teen want to build skateboard facility in Lime Kiln Park that was studied but tabled in 2005
Cody Reetz loved skateboarding.
The late Grafton teen’s favorite hobby has also inspired some of his friends and relatives to organize a fund-raising campaign to build a public skateboard park in his memory.
“Our goal is to have a small skate facility to honor Cody that all the kids in the Village of Grafton can use,” said Allison Lotter, a Grafton woman who is spearheading the effort.
“He was a great kid, and this would be a great way to remember him.”
It’s an idea that was expected to be endorsed this week by the village’s Parks and Recreation Board as the renewal of a project planned for Lime Kiln Park in 2005 but tabled due to a lack of funds.
Cody, 14, was killed Nov. 15, the victim of a crime in which his stepfather has been charged with first-degree homicide. Amid an outpouring of shock and grief, hundreds of local residents attended an evening vigil to remember
the teen, who was an eighth-grader at John Long Middle School.
The public support also sparked ideas for a lasting tribute. Lotter said her son Daniel DiCriscio and his friend Nick Butt, both John Long School students, first thought of creating a skate park.
The plan was quickly backed by others, including Cody’s parents.
“I think it’s a great idea, something that Cody would have loved,” said Krista Avey, Cody’s mother. “When someone from John Long called me about it, I said yes.
“Grafton has been such an awesome community in the way they have supported us. It’s wonderful that someone would even think to do this.”
Two weeks ago, Lotter, several other parents and some of Cody’s friends met with John Safstrom, the village’s parks and recreation director, to discuss the skate park. Safstrom said he updated the group on the previous project, which included the formation of an ad hoc
committee in 2003 to study possible locations, designs for facilities and financing options.
The nine-member committee — which included village, school district, student and citizen representatives — toured skateboard parks in other communities and recommended using the upper level of Lime Kiln Park for a 10,000-square-foot facility that could be built for
$200,000 to $250,000 using grants, donations, sponsorships and fund-raising activities.
Village officials endorsed the project, but it was shelved after supporters were unable to raise enough money to make it a reality.
Safstrom said he welcomed the renewed interest in the plan. In a report to be considered by the Parks and Recreation Board on Wednesday, Dec. 16, Safstrom recommended the board formally support the new group’s effort.
He also asked the group to keep the board informed about fund-raising progress and to provide a preliminary design and site plan for a skate park.
Lotter said the group has about 10 members who have only begun to discuss plans but are eager to begin serious work.
“We want to make this happen, but we’re not going to rush into it,” she said. “The site has already been approved, and a lot of work was done before, so that’s encouraging.
“It doesn’t have to be the biggest or best skate park, either. If we can build one for $100,000 to $250,000, that would be great.”
Lotter said the group will explore a variety of fund-raising options, including applying for a grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation, which has helped pay for skateboard parks throughout the country. Other options include business sponsorships, banquets, dances and
silent auctions, she added.
“We don’t expect the village to pay for anything,” Lotter said. “We’re trying to pay for it on our own. If it takes a year or more to raise enough money, then it will have to wait that long.”
Lotter said several residents and businesses have already offered support for the project, including one company that has donated $800 for a skateboard-shaped bench that will be inscribed with Cody’s name.
Anyone who wants to contribute to the project or obtain more information can call Lotter at (262) 349-5084.