Art auction to benefit Houghton Skate Park

HOUGHTON — With construction set to begin this summer for a skate board park in downtown Houghton, efforts are underway to raise additional funding. The third annual fundraising auction will be held Thursday where local artists will be selling their paintings on a non-traditional platform.

Live Music, beer and boards are on the agenda for Thursday evening at the Keweenaw Brewing Company, as the skate park committee is getting close to it’s goal of raising $200,000 for the second phase of the build. These ambitious efforts are expected put construction ahead of its original schedule, allowing for both phase 1 and 2 of the project to be completed by the end of this year’s skating season.

“That will be starting construction this summer. So hopefully people will be skating on it before the snow flies next year,” said Houghton City Manager Eric Waara.

Waara says that the public has been very supportive of the park, and along with fundraisers like the series of art auctions, donations of construction material and supplies have also helped combine the two phases.

“A lot of people have already come forward with assistance with sand and concrete and things like that,” he added.

Donations are still being accepted.

“On the list we’ve got everything from a place for the workers to sleep, to joint sealant for joints in the concrete, to form lumber, to top soil, to plywood for building forms and different things like that. There’s a whole list if anyone is interested, we’d be happy to send the list and see if there’s something they can help with,” said Waara.

“What we are doing is we are raising money for our skate park project in Houghton. Each year we’ve done this we’ve gotten quite a bit of success. What we do is we hand out (this year did about 40) boards to various local artists. The boards come from Quincy wood wrights, a manufacturer in Houghton. So we’ve handed these out to various local artists and they’ve given us 40 different things that they’ve done,” said Alex Aho, co-founder of the Houghton Skate Park.

This is the third art auction contributing to the park, The public is invited to the free event to browse and bid on the unique decor.

“The first year we raised about $10,000 which was well over what I expected and then the next year we raised about $23,000 which is a whole lot even more than I expected. This year, I’m not quite sure what to expect. It’s our final fundraiser and we are just about at the goal that we’re looking for,” said Aho.

The silent auction will begin at 7:00 p.m., followed by a live auction at 8:00.

“I think that when you make something exciting for a community I think that they can rally behind it and make it happen and that’s what’s been done so far and I look forward to doing it again,” said Aho.