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A mural at Lewis and Clark Park

A mural at Lewis and Clark Park depicts a Native culture that is nowhere to be found in present-day Stevensville.

STEVENSVILLE – The proposed site of Stevensville’s new skateboard park got a very special visitor this past week.

Pearl Jam’s bass player, Jeff Ament, met with the skateboard park committee’s co-chair, Raymond Smith, to consider its potential.

Smith said Friday he could almost see Ament’s mind at work as he looked over land recently donated by the town council.

“He fell in love with the location,” Smith said. “He kept looking at the mountains. He said he wanted to skate here.”

Before Ament left Stevensville, Smith said the world-famous rocker with Montana roots gave permission for the organization hoping to raise enough money to build a top-notch skatepark to let everyone know that he would donate the money needed to build the bowl portion of the park.

“He basically gave us permission to shout it from the rooftops,” Smith said. “He is behind the project money-wise. He wants to build a bowl unlike anything that’s been seen in Montana before.”

Ament has helped pay for construction of other skateparks in Montana.

The proposed $60,000 donation is a huge first step for a group that’s been mostly fundraising through bake sales, raffles and Valentine’s Day roses.

Smith believes it will open the doors for other major donors interested in helping make the skatepark a reality.

Earlier this year, the Stevensville Town Council agreed to set aside about 8,000 square feet in the community’s Lewis and Clark Park for the proposed 120-by-65-foot concrete skatepark. The ground is located west of the town’s swimming pool and right next to the basketball courts.

Smith hopes the community will raise an additional $150,000 “to create something that’s not only unique to us, but unique to Montana. Once it’s constructed, it could possibly become a destination park.”

The committee is working with Evergreen Skateparks of Oregon on the design of the park.

The hopes are construction of the skatepark could begin next spring, with the park open by summer.

“This is an incredible offer to our community,” Smith said. “We just need to bring it home now. If we work together as a community, this will benefit everyone.”

Reporter Perry Backus can be reached at pbackus@ravallirepublic.com.

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Associate Editor

Reporter for The Ravalli Republic.