KOKOMO, Ind. — Local skateboarders perfect their kickflips and ollies at a newly renovated skate park, with help from Indiana University Kokomo’s Enactus chapter.
The student organization, mostly comprised of business students, consulted with Anthony Tucker, the new owner of DK’s Mainstreet Skatepark, helping him update it before its recent grand reopening.
Vincent Knarr of Kokomo, Enactus vice president, grew up skateboarding at the indoor center, and heard Tucker wanted to renovate it. He brought the idea to the rest of the club members, who jumped at the chance to get involved.
“I’m always a fan of helping a hometown business,” said Tyler Lucas, Kokomo, who served as project manager along with Nicolas Cortez. “When it reopened, it drew people from all over the state, bringing them to Kokomo. We’re glad to bring something new to the community, and to draw positive attention.”
The work the students did, which included rebranding, marketing, and developing a business model, as well as hands-on construction work, made a difference to Tucker. He noted that more than 100 people came for the grand opening celebration.
“The work they did promoting our grand opening is one of the big reasons we had a lot of people show up,” he said. “They really promoted us in a positive way. They really put forth the effort.”
They also applied for and received a $1,000 Sam’s Club Giving Program grant, to replace the outdated sign with a new one, designed by a student.
Jason VanAlstine, faculty co-sponsor, said the students gained hands-on skills from the project, while also using their skills to help a community business.
“We’ve done consulting in the past, but usually it’s one small part of the business. This was a much bigger undertaking, because they were really trying to help in every facet of the business,” he said. “The owner has a strong background in skateboarding, and they developed a business model to help him support the skateboarding community, which is his vision.”
These kinds of experiences benefit the participating businesses, and the students.
“There are always obstacles and hurdles you run into in a real business, that you don’t see that much in the classroom,” he said. “They take away real-life experience that will help them as they start their careers.”
Enactus President Leann Cook, Martinsville, is proud of the project, and said they will continue working with the park through second semester.
“It’s different from what we usually do, but it’s a good project,” she said. “We’ve helped give our community someplace they can go to be active. It’s also one of the only indoor skate parks in the area, which is one reason we thought this could be a successful business.”
Sam Alharjry, a student from Saudi Arabia, appreciates the chance to try what he’s studied in the classroom, and to learn from other students.
“We all bring our own skills in different areas, and apply what we’ve learned to helping a real business,” he said. “Now we have real work experience.”
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.