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The kids raised $350 with a raffle last summer. They've got a donation jar at a local skate shop and a tradition where when somebody throws some money in it everyone in the store is encouraged to do the same.

He believes he's getting close to putting together a committee of adults and a representative of the kids to do the large scale fund raising effort. Any adults interested in joining can call North Mankato City Clerk Nancy Gehrke at 625 4141.

Another $125 has been raised that way.

´╗┐Skateboarders face steep fund

"It's really hard for me to turn my back on it," Rorvig said. "I see myself being there in one shape or form."

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"It's still a mountain to climb, but we had confidence," Sparacino said.

Meanwhile, the kids are doing what they can. The latest plan is a T shirt sale with one kid in the group, Sam Berkland, doing the design. They're also thinking of putting on a skateboard show in the summer with a small admission fee.

To move from there to convincing big donors to contribute hundreds or thousands of dollars is a step Sparacino isn't sure a group of 14 and 15 year old skateboarders can make without help. They're a responsible bunch, he said, but they don't have the credibility that comes with adulthood.

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But the effort will be worth it even if the fathers of the North Mankato Skateboard Park are off to college before the project is complete. Sparacino said it's been a great learning experience.

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With $99,000 of the $100,000 still to be raised, Sparacino isn't sure if the group is working on a project that they'll ever be skating on. It might end up being for the next generation of skaters, he said.

The kids have sporadically worked on the project even as they've moved on from Dakota Meadows and its Public Achievement program. Rorvig obtained preliminary designs and cost estimates. He went to the Mankato Area Foundation, which agreed to be the fiscal agent for the fund raising.

"We yell out 'Empty your pockets!'," Sparacino said.

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has a commitment from North Mankato to allow site work to begin on the city donated land near Caswell Park once half of the money has been raised.

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But Rorvig is no longer in Mankato. A future social studies teacher, Rorvig is student teaching in Edina for the next several months and will graduate from MSU in the spring.

"I think they should be hopeful they can be using it before they graduate," he said.

And Rorvig remains optimistic about the fund raising. Once the committee is in place and sending out requests for donations, he expects the community to respond quickly. He still believes Nike Grey Hoodie No Zip

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Rorvig is impressed at how the group of kids has stuck to the project. And he wants to see them skate on it while they're still kids.

"Not many teenagers can say they've been before the city council multiple times," he said.

"Unfortunately for us, there is an age bias," he said. ". Without that adult look, I don't think we can get a lot of respect."

Anyone who would like to make a donation can send a check, designated for the skateboard park, to the Mankato Area Foundation via the Greater Mankato Chamber of Commerce.

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"I wouldn't call it a minor setback," Sparacino said of Rorvig moving away. "It's rather huge because we don't Nike Windrunner Red And Black know who would be willing to step in. . But it's still moving forward."

and donations will be tax deductible for donors. The foundation even gave the group $600 to cover fund raising costs.

Conceptually, it seemed like a great idea to Chris Sparacino, 14, and a half dozen other skateboard enthusiasts when a year ago they decided to push for a new skateboard park in North Mankato.

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When the council agreed to donate land but left the construction costs for the kids to raise in the community Rorvig insisted it could be done. He talked of a major fund raising push. The kids would do what they could through raffles and other events, but there would also be a sophisticated attempt to get donations from businesses throughout Mankato.

This summer, however, came the hard reality of a six figure price tag to construct the kind of park they wanted. Sparacino said the prospect of trying to raise $100,000 was more than a little intimidating.

Then Jesse Rorvig started talking, and it seemed plausible again. Rorvig had been the group's Public Achievement coach when the kids were eighth graders at Dakota Meadows Middle School. A Minnesota State University student, Rorvig had led the kids as they developed their idea, came up with a strategy of asking the City of North Mankato to build one and helped them make their case at City Council meetings.

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A 501.3(c) status was obtained, Nike Pullover Black

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Rorvig is hoping to rectify that problem even from his teaching job in Edina and even as he coaches a snowboarding team four days a week at Hyland Ski and Snowboard Area in Bloomington.

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