Parkapalooza 5K to raise money for final phase of skatepark


On a nice, summer day, Lillian Johnson brings her three young sons to the Schurman-Grubb Memorial Skatepark in Seymour.

She watches as the older two, Carter, 8, and Corbin, 6, dart around on their Razor scooters, gaining just enough speed to ride up the concrete inclines and then back down.

Two-year-old Oaklynn, the youngest, sits down on a skateboard and pumps his legs trying to roll himself forward.

“We love to come to the skatepark,” Lillian said. “So many people think just teenagers use it, but if you come earlier in the day, it’s great for the littles. They have so much fun.”

Isaiah Gambrel, 24, has spent many hours at the skatepark. It’s a place he goes to practice skateboarding tricks and clear his mind. He loves to see younger kids taking an interest in the park and hopes it continues to attract users for the future.

Located in Shields Park, the skatepark is named after Todd Schurman and Zach Grubb, two local teens who were killed in the spring of 2010 after they were hit by a vehicle while riding a bicycle. Both were skateboarding enthusiasts who had helped with fundraising efforts to build the park before they died.

The first phase, which laid the foundation for the park, opened in late 2013 and cost around $120,000, which was funded by the city and the Seymour Skatepark Association.

In 2015, the city completed the second phase, which included a quarter pipe, a volcano feature and additional square footage of concrete skating surface. It cost around $30,000, the bulk of which was funded through a grant from the Jackson County Visitor Center, along with continued fundraising efforts by the skatepark association.

Now, it’s time to raise money for the third and final phase, said Stacy Findley, director of the Seymour Parks and Recreation Department.

Original plans for Phase III call for the addition of new features, such as a three-quarter bowl, stair sets, handrails and a curved ledge. But the design will be decided on by those who use the park, Findley said.

“We have a community input session coming up to decide exactly what will be constructed,” she said.

She estimates the project will cost around $100,000.

That’s where the Parkapalooza 5K Run/Walk comes in. Those wanting to help support the community’s efforts to finish the skatepark or who are just looking for a run to participate in are invited to sign up now.

The race will start at 8 a.m. Aug. 29 at Shields Park. Registration is $20 through Aug. 16 and $25 after. You can register online at or in the parks department office at Seymour City Hall.

All registration fees, sponsorships and donations will go to help build the third and final phase of the skatepark.

Findley said she chose to organize a 5K as her first fundraising effort for the Seymour Parks and Recreation Department because it helps promote physical activity and community engagement.

“I would like to offer at least one 5K per year that can be a funding mechanism for various projects,” she said. “I have worked with Indiana Timing for many years doing 5Ks, so it seemed to be a good fit on many levels.”

Findley is no stranger to raising money or skateparks, as she oversaw fundraising and construction of the Jolie Crider Memorial Skatepark in Columbus.

That project included a 15,000-square-foot concrete skatepark built by Bloomington Hunger Skateparks to replace the wooden one built in 1999. It served as a memorial to Jolie Crider, who was a friend, classmate and teammate of Findley.

“It was a very personal project for me and was an honor to be a part of,” she said.

For the Parkapalooza 5K, she would like to see at least 100 participants. But when it comes to money, she’s not setting any kind of limits or expectations.

“Money raised is icing on the cake,” she said. “But more than anything, I am looking forward to the event itself promoting healthy living in our community.”

Besides the 5K funds, the parks department also plans to use a portion of a recently awarded grant from the visitor center to help finish the skatepark. That grant was for $100,000, which the city had to match.

The $200,000 will be used to help fund three sports tourism projects in the city, Findley said. They include two ball diamonds at Freeman Field Sports Complex, two pickleball courts and the skatepark.

The amount that will go toward the skatepark will depend on how much the other two projects cost to complete, Findley said.

She hopes construction on the skatepark can begin this fall, but it may have to be pushed back to next spring.

Besides skateboards, the park sees a lot of use by in-line skaters and those riding scooters and BMX bikes, making it an asset to the community.

Finishing the skatepark is a priority for the department, Findley said. She wants to see the city be progressive when it comes to activities, sports trends and facilities.

Once thought of as just an extreme sport, skateboarding will be part of the Olympics in 2021 in Japan and is on the rise in the sporting world.

As a believer in the philosophy that parks are for everyone, Findley said she will continue to be an advocate for all user groups, from those who play softball to those who enjoy pickleball.

“Seymour Parks and Recreation will continue to add amenities and programming that will add to the quality of life of those who live here,” she said.

She also believes parks are a reason people will continue to visit and move to Seymour.

There is currently a skatepark corridor that includes Bloomington, Nashville and Columbus. Once Seymour’s skatepark is completed, it will be included in that corridor and become a travel destination for skaters.

“The skate community will travel near and far for quality skate destinations,” Findley said.

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