Country singer Kip Moore helps build skate parks for kids
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country singer Kip Moore's style is more surfboards and skateboards than cowboy boots, so when he wanted to help children from low-income areas, he found inspiration in his own passions.
Last month in Annapolis, Maryland, Moore opened the first of four skate parks he is helping to fund with the Comeback Kid Skatepark Project, an initiative of his donor-advised charitable fund, Kip's Kids Fund. Another park opened in San Marcos, Texas, and two more will be opened in Nashville, Tennessee, and Boston.
Moore, along with the city of Annapolis and local community donors, helped refurbish a skate park that had fallen into disrepair by resurfacing the pavement and adding ramps, rails, corner pockets and flip banks. Moore said he wanted to give kids a safe place to practice and create bonds with other skaters.
"Skating is such a brotherhood community," the 35-year-old singer-songwriter said in an interview with The Associated Press during his first look at the new park in Annapolis. "In a lot of these areas, these kids are dealing with all kinds of different problems. This is a safe place for them to go. And it's a place where they can be turned on to a new sport that might give them some hope, something to be proud of. I am in a position now to make some things happen and that's what I want to do in these communities."
Moore named the project after the song "Comeback Kid" on his new album, "Wild Ones," which debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 chart last month.
"I see it hopefully being a nationwide thing," Moore said of his charitable fund. "Hopefully we can expand this thing and turn it into a million different projects, not just skating, but all kinds of things in the inner cities."
Brad Siedlecki, president of Pillar Design Studios, the company that helped build and design the park, said he was already working with the city to refurbish the park when Moore reached out.
"With Kip's money, that really brought the whole park together and the kids got a brand-new skate park out of it," Siedlecki said.
Chris Opilla, an Annapolis skateboarder, said the improvements have already started drawing skaters back to the park.
"The gift from Kip Moore and everybody was a godsend," Opilla said. "I've seen a 20-fold increase in the amount of kids. Kids would come here and get tired of the old wooden ramps that were broken down. But now on a weekend you can easily see 20 kids here at any given time."
Even Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides felt inspired to test out the ramps during the opening, even after he fell off the board a few times.
Associated Press videographer Rick Gentilo in Annapolis contributed to this story.