October 15, 2010 in City

Pearl Jam bassist donates skate park

Associated Press

BIG SANDY, Mont. – Pearl Jam bassist Jeff Ament thought there should be something for kids to do besides school sports in his tiny Montana hometown.

So the skateboarding enthusiast picked up the $40,000 tab for a new skate park in Big Sandy.

After three weeks of welding forms and smoothing concrete, the park was finished Tuesday night. Ament, 47, was up just minutes after sunrise Wednesday to give it a spin.

It was a far cry from the 25-foot-long ramp he and his father built for him to skate on when he was a teen.

“My dad helped me build ramps,” Ament told the Great Falls Tribune, “now I can give kids around here something else to do.”

Ament, who lives in Missoula and Seattle, has helped fund skate parks in towns in Montana and Washington. He was a major force behind Missoula’s Mobash Skatepark, convincing Pearl Jam to donate money and attending meetings with city planners.

For the Big Sandy project, he contacted former classmate and friend Daren Schuster, who was the mayor at the time, and “he said ‘yes.’ ”

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