Monday, June 16, 2008
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New skateboard park a fitting memorial

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[June 16, 2008]  As a pair of youngsters on skateboards glided rhythmically back and forth, it was in harmony, and without fear of being told to stop and go somewhere else. In fact, they were welcome to be there. The boarders were enjoying hassle-free skating at Lincoln's new skateboard park. The facility is located at the east end of the Lincoln Park District grounds.

Auto RepairThe park gives our energetic youth another fun thing to do and a safe place to go.

While many interested people worked long and hard to bring this project to fruition, the official ribbon-cutting on Friday represented much more. It was a genuine tribute to one family's ability to overcome devastating personal losses and bring our community together to do something great.

Following the official activities, Marilyn Tapper sat on one of the new park benches, smiled and reflected on a journey that took several years to see just that event happen.

The idea of the skateboard park for area youngsters came out of the most tragic of circumstances. Marilyn's son Cash died at the age of 14 in February of 2003. "Cash loved anything on wheels: skateboarding, dirt bikes, rollerblades -- he enjoyed it all," Marilyn explained.


Cash's older brother, Matt, thought that a fitting memorial for his younger brother would be to have a skateboarding park built in his honor. His family agreed, with Marilyn remarking how even at so young an age, Cash was a "humanitarian."

"He always hoped that a park for skateboarding would someday be built -- something for all the kids here in Lincoln," Marilyn said.

Marilyn approached Roy Logan, program coordinator of the Lincoln Park District, about the idea and was pleased when Logan met the idea with a great deal of enthusiasm. Logan helped start up a fund for the park, and for several years money was collected and saved to purchase the necessary equipment.


When Marilyn's husband, Alan, died two years ago, the family felt that this park could be a memorial to him as well.

Marilyn remarked how the project then went from drawing board and wish list to reality. A skate park committee was formed and things began to "roll" quickly.

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"We received huge community support," she said. "The kids helped raise money. The National Honor Society at the Lincoln High School became involved. The IGA, the Eagles, the American Legion all gave us support. The Lincoln Elks, the Wal-Mart Foundation and the Lincoln Odd Fellows, Rebekah Lodge, all gave huge donations."

To stress the point that this was a total community project, Marilyn mentioned that "children emptied their piggy banks to contribute to this day happening."

She talked about how area youngsters now had a place to come and skate or just hang out and visit without any dangers of traffic or banging into pedestrians.

Thanks to the park district's help, there is plenty of land for expansion.


As the sound of skates and an occasional mishap sounded in the background, Marilyn Tapper softly smiled. "This is a good, happy story," she said. "This park is a great reflection on this community."

It is also a wonderful memorial to Cash and the efforts of his father, Alan. One can't help but feel that the father and son must be very proud of their family and community right now.



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