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Tosa skate park proponents compete for Pepsi dollars

Dec. 6, 2011

If Tosa Skateboarders United can get enough people to submit daily text or online votes throughout December, a $25,000 grant could be on its way to help build a skateboard and BMX bike facility at Hart Park.

The local nonprofit group is competing in the Pepsi Refresh Challenge. Throughout the month, individuals may vote up to three times per day by texting 110502 to 73774 (Pepsi), using their Facebook account or setting up an online Pepsi account. Go to TosaSkateboardersUnited.org and click on the link.

Tosa Skateboarders have a total fundraising goal of $650,000 to build the skate park. However, $25,000 would allow the group to have construction documents drawn up, secretary Judy Doyle said.

The memory of her son, Jack Doyle, a founding member of the organization, was a driving force behind the skate park. Jack died in 2006 at the age of 13.

Thousands of organizations submit applications to Pepsi Refresh each month detailing why their projects would benefit their communities, then 1,500 are chosen and looked at to ensure they qualify. The eligible applicants are split into appropriate categories. The top 15 vote-getters in the $25,000 tier will receive funds.

As of Monday night, Tosa Skateboarders United was ranked 44 of 224. A fundraiser concert put on by the Wauwatosa Youth Commission last weekend provided an opportunity to get an early jump. The high school students attending Concert for a Cause were asked to take out their phone and text in votes. The skate park moved several places closer to the top.

"Once you get the word out and people start voting it's like wildfire," Doyle said.

Winning groups have nine months after the contest wraps to accomplish their goals. With architectural designs in hand, the Tosa Skateboarders could pursue construction plans when funding is available, she said.

"It would allow us to get momentum behind the project like we haven't seen before," Doyle said, adding that hard plans give potential donors specifics for donations and sponsorships.

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