The Goppert Foundation has gifted the City of Ottawa $50,000 for the Ottawa Teen Park.


The gift, which came through the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation, was announced at the April 17 Ottawa City Commission study session. The Chamber Foundation makes giving convenient and efficient for donors, helping them maximize their giving, simplify donations and contribute to the causes they love through charitable giving accounts.


“I was happy to help facilitate the opportunity for this gift,” said Mike Skidmore, city commissioner and vice president of Goppert State Savings Bank.


The Teen Park fundraising has been ongoing since the beginning of the 2016, with pledges received from the city, Ottawa Rotary, Franklin County, an anonymous donor who gave $50,000 and funds from a Ottawa Middle School dodgeball tournament. In addition, a shoe drive also has raised money for the park. The total pledged and received before the Goppert gift was about $110,000.


“It is no surprise that the Goppert Foundation is willing to build on its previous philanthropic efforts in the community, but it is very significant to this project,” Mayor Sara Caylor said. “They are absolutely ensuring the dreams of our teens will become a reality.”


Play Task Force Chairperson Fonda Rose said the task force is excited about the donation. “We are going to do this thing and make the vision come true for our area youth,” she said.

The first phase includes relocating the skate park amenities to the Teen Park location south of 15th Street and Kanza Park. It also will include three basketball courts and a zip line. The significant item in the second phase is the pump track, an above ground looped system with slopes and banks for bicycles, skateboarding and skating. All of the amenities planned for the Teen Park were identified by the teens in the Ottawa School District as features they would like to have and use.


The first phase began with dirt movement in early winter and recently soil testing for compaction. It is hoped that work on the concrete pads can begin by early summer. The Task Force is actively looking for

skilled labor to help with the concrete installation. If you want to volunteer, contact Public Works Director Michael Haeffele to coordinate with crews.


City Community Development Director Wynndee Lee said naming opportunities still exist for features, and it is hoped additional funds can be acquired by the fall so that by this time next year, nearly all of the features are installed.


For more information about the Teen Park or how to get involved, contact Lee at 785-229-3620 or or visit