The Fort Wayne Indoor, an Indoor BMX and Skate Park
Oct30

The Fort Wayne Indoor, an Indoor BMX and Skate Park

With the winter months creeping up on us, Lawton Park sits quietly as there is less opportunity for BMXers or skaters to practice the sport they love. With The New Republic just recently closing it’s doors this summer, The Fort Wayne Indoor has come to the rescue offering a winter venue for BMXers and skaters to enjoy their sport. I recently had the opportunity to talk with Rich Hoppe about his new venture, The Fort Wayne Indoor, which is a 503(c) not-for-profit organization focused on giving a winter venue to BMXers and skaters in our local community. Read on for our Q&A. How did The Fort Wayne Indoor get started? Three years ago, with the help of a local not-for-profit organization called “The Framework”, this vision became reality. An indoor facility known as ‘The New Republic Skatepark’ opened its doors to the public in the fall of 2012. As of July 1, 2014 the not-for-profit lost its lease and simply could not keep up with the constant search for people, organizations, or companies who were willing to donate money to help keep the place alive. The park had tried to incorporate a music venue, a community center, Skate the Cross (a type of Sunday school), and even a church for misfits that had service every single Sunday. In July of 2013 Dan Butler, a life-long, local skateboarder, who, at age 40 was responsible for building most of the park as we know it today. Dan volunteered to take over and lead the day-to-day operations. Dan called upon his BMX friend, Rich Hoppe, who has organized fundraisers in the name of the sport and is also a life long BMXer at the ripe age of 40 as well. Dan and Rich have been riding & skating (BMX & SKATE) together since their early teens, 25+ years. In July of 2014 Dan Butler and myself started a GoFundMe page, built a website, and started a social media blitz that raised $10,417 in just 22 Days. This allowed us to ‘buy time’ as we focused on rebuilding the lobby and adding some new obstacles to the park. Our Open House was this past weekend and we saw over 80 kids come through the door and we fed all of them for free! What was your biggest challenge in opening the park? Our biggest challenge opening the park is money. We plan to keep our admission prices low in order to keep it affordable for the youth of our area. Fundraising is key to the success of our indoor venture. If you had a vision for the park in the next five years, what would it...

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