BELDING — As DTE Energy Regional Manger Roger Royer held a giant check in the amount of $10,000 to be given to the Belding Skate Park Committee, he reflected on the importance of helping to bring the skate park to downtown Belding at Central Riverside Park.
“You don’t see kids out a lot anymore, not like when I was a kid,” Royer said. “Kids like to stay indoors and play video games. Hopefully the kids will appreciate this park and use it once it’s completed and done.”
Royer, on behalf of the DTE Energy Foundation, donated the funds Thursday afternoon to help the Belding Skate Park Committee hit $70,000 in pledges and donations as the group approaches its goal of $100,000 to construct the concrete park.
“Belding is an important community to us,” Royer said. “Belding is actually the biggest community in Ionia County that we serve. It’s important that we reach out to our customers, no matter their age.”
Royer said he hopes the donation will help to bring a park to Belding that will increase youthful activity throughout the Belding area.
“The more successful that Belding is economically, culturally and educationally, the better it is for them,” he said. “This is a small way for us to contribute to hopefully making Belding a little more attractive and keep young people here.”
Committee member Roger Wills said with the goal of $100,000 now in sight, spirits are high that construction can begin in the spring starting with the pouring of the concrete surface of the skate park.
“I think this is going to help give some momentum to other donors,” Wills said. “We’re well over the hump now. There are no doubts and we will be pouring concrete in the spring.”
Wills said the committee was thankful for the donation from DTE, but was also impressed with the company’s desire to help contribute to the Belding community.
“That’s what neat about this, a utility company having a charitable arm like this to help a community when they see positive things going on,” he said. “They can really affect the quality of life.”
As committee members, city officials, recreation board members and a few skaters gathered Thursday to receive the donation, skater Dale Harris, 22, of Belding, said he and his friends can finally begin to realize the dream of having a location to skate locally.
“It’s a really awesome feeling, just hoping to get this skate park here soon,” Harris said. “Having to travel to get to any decent skate park is getting really difficult having to pay for things like gas. It’s going to be able to nice to come downtown everyday and have something better than anything within an hour’s drive.”