AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – One day before the six year anniversary of the crash that killed 18-year-old Alix Rice as she was riding on her skateboard, her family and friends joined Amherst town leaders to mark a major milestone for the skatepark being named in her honor.
Although digging has already started at the site near the Northtown Center, a ceremonial groundbreaking was held Friday morning, as organizers celebrated work moving forward. Construction can now begin.
The Alix Rice Peace Park should be open for use in the fall.
“This is our opportunity from this day forward to celebrate Alix’s life, who was she was a human being, and that her memory lives on with her values and her love for her community,” said Rice’s mother, Tammy Schueler, ahead of Friday’s groundbreaking.
It has taken years to get to this point.
The first formal request to the town of Amherst to build a skate park in Alix Rice’s honor came in July 2011, the same month she was hit and killed by a drunk driver while riding her longboard home from work.
Formal fundraising for the skate park began in 2012, with the formation of the Alix Rice Peace Park Foundation. Construction of the skate park will cost around $450,000, and now, organizers have gotten close enough to that goal to get started.
“The volunteers, and every single person who’s gone to a fundraiser or donated a basket or been a treasurer or sent out mailers and done the hard work really deserves a congratulations,” said Amherst Town Clerk Marjory Jeager during Friday’s event.
“Everyone was willing to work together and that was the only way that this was going to happen,” added Mary-Diana Pouli, Executive Director of the Youth and Recreation Department for the town. “The town would have loved to build a skate park but it was beyond our financial ability to do so, and so by partnering with these wonderful folks, this is where we are today.”
More money is still needed to complete construction and to maintain and insure the park for years in the future.
If you would like to help, you can still purchase a brick that will be used in the project. Click here for full information about that.