Tony Hawk makes record donation to Detroit skate park

DETROIT - Tony Hawk has made a career for himself as the most famous name in skateboarding, creating an empire of equipment, video games, television shows and movies.

He could rest there, but he doesn't.

Hawk visited Detroit on Wednesday afternoon, working on the most recent chapter in his legacy: helping the next generation of skaters.

"The fact that people here are trying to make a new community for themselves, and re-purposing some of the empty space for places like this for kids to be active, that's exactly what we want to support," Hawk said of his trip to Detroit.

The 45-year old's foundation gave Ride It Sculpture Park the largest gift they've ever handed out, donating $30,000. The funds will help build a state-of-the-art safe haven for young skaters on the corner of Davison and Klinger.

"It rose to the top of our list immediately," Hawk said of Detroit.

There was no fanfare or press release trumpeting his stop in town. He made a point to visit the neighborhood he was helping, and to actually spend time with the kids who would be there anyway.

Naturally, that stirred a bit of excitement with local riders. Armon Conley, who lives in the neighborhood, said he was speechless when he walked up and saw Hawk.

"I really don't wanna skate today. I just want to see him skateboard because he's a great, he's a legend."

The first half of the park was installed in 2012 by Gina Reichert and Mitch Cope, a married couple working on revitalizing the neighborhood. They reached out to Hawk, who will help transform the park with the record donation.

"A lot kids in these areas love skateboarding, but they are basically told not to do it because they're doing it on private property or the streets. They're discouraged from doing something they love," Hawk explained.

"The best thing that I can do with my so-called 'celebrity,' is to provide that kind of place for them."

Brad Galli is a Sports Reporter for WXYZ Detroit. Follow Brad on Twitter @BradGalli

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