County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. announced today that Oneida County has awarded $250,000 to assist in the construction of a skatepark in Rome dedicated to the memory of a young man who was passionate about the sport and his city.
“The passing of Stone Mercurio was a tragedy felt not just in the City of Rome, but all throughout Oneida County,” Picente said. “Together with the Board of Legislators, we are proud to provide this funding to help keep his memory alive and greatly enhance the lives of those who share his passion for skateboarding. This skatepark will be a tremendous asset to community youth, giving them a productive place to spend their time and a safe environment to raise awareness of mental health.”
The SFM Skatepark Project’s goal is to construct one of the largest destination skateplazas in New York State. It will consist of a 30,000-square-foot, modern, concrete skatepark and civic plaza located on the waterfront at Bellamy Harbor Park. The project is fully-designed, and will be broken into two phases.
Oneida County’s contribution, which Picente allocated from American Rescue Plan Act funding, will go to Phase 1, known as the "Street Phase." It is estimated at $1.5 million and planned for spring/summer 2024 construction, with Phase 2 —the "Flow Phase"— planned for construction in 2025.
In addition to the main skate area, which will also support bikes, scooters, rollerblades and wheelchairs, and feature a 450+ foot paved pump track that would be one of the largest in the state, the park’s civic plaza component will incorporate much-needed space for youth programming, live music and food trucks.
The SFM Skatepark Project is an all-volunteer, youth-driven organization consisting of 12-15 core team members and more than 1,100 supporters in the Rome community. The group was formed following the death of Rome native son, Stone Mercurio, who was an avid skateboarder, snowboarder, soccer player, diver and outdoors enthusiast. Within a week of Stone's passing, his friends and family committed to building a free, safe, accessible, and dynamic modern skatepark in downtown Rome for all ages, abilities and backgrounds.
“We aren’t here just to build a skatepark, we are here to transform lives,” said Christian Mercurio, Stone’s father. “We are here because of the hard work and dedication of Stone’s friends and young people in our community who want to make a difference. Stone was such a positive force in so many lives, and his spirit will live on through this project and the generations of kids to come. I can’t begin to describe the depth of our gratitude to County Executive Picente and the Board of Legislators for helping us break the stigma of mental illness and raise awareness for suicide prevention by providing a safe, welcoming, accessible place for teenagers at such a tender, critical age.”
“The SFM Skatepark will not only be a skatepark, but a place where kids of all backgrounds can go to feel safe and have fun,” said Oneida County Legislator Brenda McMonagle, R-12, Rome. “When all phases are complete, this community hub will incorporate accessible features, partnerships to provide supportive services for teens and families, free skateboarding clinics and opportunities for all kinds of community-based programming. It will be able to be used year-round, for many years to come. I’m very proud to help secure county funding for this amazing project.”
The Rome Community Foundation is the non-profit partner of the SFM Skatepark Project, responsible for the stewardship of all proceeds from fundraisers, donations and sponsorships. The City of Rome is also a project partner, that will own and operate the waterfront skateplaza at Bellamy Harbor Park.
More information on the SFM Skatepark Project and donation opportunities can be found at: https://sfmskateparkproject.com/.
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