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Community raising funds for skatepark

By Susan Mustapich | May 04, 2021
A community effort is now up and running to support and improve the Camden Skatepark facility and operations.

CAMDEN — A community fundraiser for the Camden Skatepark has raised $2,000 in its first week.

The GoFundMe campaign is organized by Rafi Baeza, of Camden. Rafi and Marti Baeza recently spoke in support of the Skatepark on Knowlton Street, when a $4,000 budget item for the park stirred up debate at the April 20 Camden Select Board meeting.

Marti Baeza said she would support a GoFundMe page for the park if the town made a commitment to work things out so that the park can coexist with the neighbors.

A partial goal of the fundraiser is to pay for $1,050 in new plywood that volunteers bought to resurface the skatepark in 2020.

The structure was previously located behind the former Teen Center on Knowlton, which was run by the PenBay YMCA. When the YMCA sold the building in August 2020, the skatepark was taken apart, moved next door to 4 Knowlton, a small parking lot owned by the town, and reassembled. For some time, skateboarders had been patching and repairing the structure, which was in poor shape at the time of the move.

Funds over and above the cost of the plywood will be used for ongoing repairs and improvements and given to the town of Camden and a skatepark group, according to the GoFundMe.

The town of Camden is also seeking community volunteers to help with the skatepark. Problems mentioned by neighbors included trash and trouble with users of the skatepark following the 5 p.m. closure of the park.

"The local skate park community is at work to help improve the park for the users and neighbors, and they are looking for help," according to the town's Facebook page.  Anyone who wants to donate to the park in other ways, or to volunteer resources or services, can contact Holly Anderson, with Camden Parks and Recreation, by emailing handerson@camdensnowbowl.com.

There are videos on the Camden Skatepark Facebook page, where skaters talk about the impact of the skatepark on their lives.

A recent post speaks to how that influence has gone far beyond the boundaries of a small town in Midcoast Maine for Camden skater Eamon Samojila.

Samojila is featured on one of a series of covers of the May issue of L'Uomo Vogue, featuring skateboarders. He is photographed as an airborne silhouette dressed in a Givenchy suit. The Italian men's fashion magazine is owned by Conde Nast.

Samojila who is now in his 20s, models and skateboards competitively, and is known to come back to skateboard in Camden when visiting the area.

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