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2 boys get their dream rolling

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Dan Gallagher, 11, and Chase Garver, 10, proposed the skateboard ramps to the Bryan city council, researched the demand among youths, and asked for contributions. More than $70,000 was raised.

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BRYAN - The first two boys to mount skateboards and roll across this city's brand new ramps were Dan Gallagher and Chase Garver.

And well they should have been.

The two boys began the $88,000 project when they were 9. Their tenacity led to yesterday's dedication of the Skateboard Park.

The project, built in Bryan's Fountain City Park but without city money, was finished two years after the two boys made their first nervous pitch to city council.

“It shows what determined kids can do,” said Bruce Manett, Bryan's assistant director of parks and recreation.

Dan, 11, and Chase, 10, hatched the project after Dan returned from a visit to South Carolina, where he saw curved ramps built for public skating.

“The two boys talked about it with their third-grade teacher, Linda Lockhart,” said Karen Gallagher, Dan's mother. “Linda had a 15-year-old son who had been an avid skateboarder but was killed in an auto accident.”

Mrs. Lockhart encouraged the boys to approach city council.

Standing up in front of council, the two 9-year-olds presented a case for building a skateboard park in Bryan. Council asked them how many other children wanted such a park.

“So the boys surveyed every student in grades 2 to 12, in public schools and St. Patrick's School,” Mrs. Gallagher said.

“Almost every kid responded that they wanted it,” said Mr. Manett.

Council told the boys the city would dedicate land if they raised the money. Dan and Chase visited service groups and other organizations, asking for funds.

Adults became involved, said Mrs. Gallagher. She and her husband Ralph and Ned and Cindy Garver, Chase's parents, became chairpersons. Howard Vreeland, Jr., headed fund-raising.

They raised more than $70,000 in cash donations, Mrs. Gallagher said, and some materials and labor were donated.

The city of Bryan's only expense has been for signage and a parking area, Mr. Manett said.

Local concrete contractors began work in September. Surburban Rail of Athens, Ohio, designed and built the ramps.

Mr. Manett said word has spread that the project was near completion. “Kids will have to sign in to use it, and kids from as far away as Napoleon and Defiance already have registered,” he said.

There are sections for younger or beginning skateboarders. Higher ramps are for advanced skaters. The ramps accommodate skateboards, inline skates, or scooters, but BMX bicycles are not allowed, because of insurance limits, Mr. Manett said.

Before completion, Dan and Chase made one more visit to city council. They asked the city to dedicate the park in memory of Garret Lockhart, son of the teacher who had got them started on the quest.

Council agreed.

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