By Ginna Hensel 

Changes in times constitute changes in leisure activities. While Ellicottville will always be known for skiing, it appears there is a new sport in town.

If you walk the streets of Ellicottville, instead of finding bikes and scooters, you are more likely to find kids on skateboards. Local couple Chris and Brenda Perks noticed this change in activities and took the initiative to help bring a skate park to Ellicottville.

Chris’s love of skating peaked as a child where there was not an easily accessible skate park. Together, the Perks hope to create a skate park for children of the community including their own.

The Perks have been working hand-in-hand with Village Mayor John Burrell to bring this to the community.  At a recent village board meeting, the Perks came to inform the board that they had been awarded a grant through the Tony Hawk Foundation which is funded through the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation.

The grant gave a promise for a $250,000 match in one year. This means $250,000 has to be raised for the park in one year in order to receive $250,000 from the Tony Hawk Foundation.  

In addition, $50,000 has been promised as a “green space” grant to offset any environmental damages that may occur. The hope is to not disrupt the delicate balance of the ecosystem. 

Other than the Tony Hawk Foundation grant, the Perks have been busy at work applying for other grants, including a $150,000 NY Parks Grant. The winner of this grant will be announced on Dec. 10, and Chris Perks asked for everyone to “keep their fingers crossed.” There are other grants available, however, Brenda and her family hope that the community can come together to help raise money.

“We have a pretty awesome community,” she said, “and our village board has shown tremendous support.” Brenda is hopeful of positive community involvement. 

One village board member wants to leave the community with a message: “In the community, we support and share things. If you want it to happen, then help make it happen. We are a community and we need to come together to help make this happen. Organize a fundraiser, collect donations, do whatever you can.”

To find more information on the skate park and its initiative visit, or follow them on Facebook and Instagram. If you want to donate, visit