“We hope to break ground next year,” says Scott Rosencrans of the Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark, “and we have several serious deadlines to encourage us.”

Very serious deadlines. The city’s memorandum of intent to devote 30,000 square feet in the northwest corner of Veterans Park to the skatepark expires on January 1, unless the Friends show they have the money to start construction next year. At the end of August, they had collected just $120,000 of the estimated $1 million budget. They’re counting on county and state grants to cover most of the rest–but they won’t know until late in the year whether a hoped-for $300,000 state grant will come through.

Rosencrans says the Friends will spend the rest of the year on public relations and fundraising: “We’re actively reaching out to the business community, and we’re meeting with the State Street and Main Street area associations.” Although downtown merchants and skateboarders have a longstanding antipathy, Rosencrans insists, “I know members of the State Street Area Association who are very enthusiastic, and my guess is that the businesses there would be thrilled to have a safe place for kids to go and skate.”