Thursday, February 28, 2002

Commission dudes pony up for skateboard fest

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Hamilton County commissioners are “totally stoked” about bringing a professional skateboarding festival to Sawyer Point this summer.

        Two of them, anyway.

        Commissioners voted 2-1 Tuesday to give the Greater Cincinnati Sports Corp. $50,000 to seal the deal.

        The Mobile Skatepark Series will take place May 25-June 2 at Sawyer Point.

        The festival will target teens with a combination of music, professional skateboarding and a freestyle BMX biking competition on the weekends. The courses will be open to amateurs during the week.

        There are 18 such events this year; the festival is now in Malaysia.

        “If we can successfully host it, we can sign on for a multi-year event,” said Leslie Spencer, director of events for the non-profit sports corporation.

        Commissioner John Dowlin said the money should come from the county's Convention and Visitors Bureau, which will benefit the most from the estimated 10,000 out-of-state visitors staying in hotels and motels.

        Commissioners Todd Portune and Tom Neyer said they see the benefit of spending $50,000 to host the event, which will be partially televised, to Cincinnati's riverfront.

        Mr. Dowlin dissented in the vote.

        “We need to support things that bring tourists and favorable attention to the area,” Mr. Neyer said. “Especially things that are viewed as hip or cool.”

        Mr. Dowlin did not view the wording of the resolution — which said the commissioners are “totally stoked” to award the grant, “dude” — as either hip or cool.

        He said the wording was “beneath” the commission.


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