BY: JON VANDERFORD
Originally published by 10/11’s Pure Nebraska program
Some ambitious Imperial kids, led by a 9-year-old boy, worked to build a skate park in their community.
“Never in a million years would I have thought they would have gotten it done in two years, but they did!” That’s Tricia Moreno, who is Trevin Moreno’s mom. Trevin is the 9-year-old who decided to build a skate park. He says he just got tired of not having a place to use his skateboard. “I just thought we should get a skate park,” Trevin said.
So, about two years ago, he approached Imperial city administrator Jo Leyland. “He just showed up after school one day and said he thought we needed a skate park,” Leyland said. “I said, wow Trevin, I don’t know a lot about skate parks, but I do know they cost a lot of money.”
That didn’t stop Trevin. He started having lemonade stands. He wrote letters to Imperial native Mike Smith who runs a skate park in Lincoln called The Bay. “Mike donated money to them, and recommended to them, and he’s been really good to help,” Leyland said. Soon, Trevin had a group of friends working to raise money. The group became known as “Team Hot Wheels”.
“They made breakfast burritos and on their days off from school, they would go and do a lot of fundraising,” Trevin’s mom Tricia Moreno said. “We designed shirts, they sold shirts and hats and bracelets and pretty much did any concession stand they could.”
“One day Trevin’s great-grandma made them a little ramp out of some scrap wood, and they were charging people to watch them do tricks off of the ramp,” Leyland said. Treven went before the park board and the city council, and he gave speeches and told them what he wanted to do. City leaders decided to help.
“The city came in with 100-thousand dollars after they had gotten so far,” Moreno said. Trevin and Team Hot Wheels then needed to come up with the rest. Memorials, donations, and money from fundraisers helped the kids get close to the goal. It also helped to get a $15,000 grant from the Imperial Community Fund. “They were also recipients of the Tony Hawk foundation grant of $10,000,” Moreno said.
Team Hot Wheels and the community raised the money between 2016 and 2018. It took about 6 weeks to get it built, and was finished in June of 2018. Now the community and the region is using it.
“We’ve had kids as little as two years old out here on scooters, and we’ve got kids that are old as in their 30’s on BMX bikes, so it’s really exciting to see people coming from everywhere to utilize the park,” Moreno said.
You could certainly say the community of Imperial showed the state what the dream of a young boy, and teamwork can do. “It’s amazing to me that those kids were so tenacious in staying right in there and earning the money they needed for something they wanted,” Leyland said.