Keystone Rampworks starts crowdfunding campaign for new Wilkes-Barre skate park and entertainment venue
For years, Wilkes-Barre residents Mikki St. Pierre and Jeffery Mushell have heard locals complain that “the scene sucks” and “there’s no place for kids to go,” so instead of joining the cranky chorus, they’re doing something about it.
By August of this year, they’re planning to open Keystone Rampworks, LLC, a “sports and recreation complex for all skill levels of freestyle BMX, scooter, skateboard, skate, and other alternative extreme sports participants with a cafe for friends, family, and non-participants.” They also want to host all-ages concerts and other arts and entertainment events “in a safe and fun environment.”
With a business plan in place, the first-time business owners are currently working on securing the funding, so they’ve started a crowdfunding campaign via GoFundMe to help defray the costs, which could add up to around $325,000 if they end up purchasing a building to house the project.
“This business is important to us because there are plenty of ‘adult venues’ for the local Wilkes-Barre area community, but very few for anyone under the age of 21 years old. The extreme sports community needs a local indoor facility that will allow them to practice their sport frequently and all year, without having to search for an area to ride. Having an indoor venue for all ages also opens the doors for our local artists, musicians, and entertainers, especially young artists who are limited to venues they can play,” St. Pierre and Mushell wrote on the GoFundMe page.
“We understand this is a huge undertaking for two people, but we don’t plan to go it alone. Our mission is ‘to bring together unique individuals by building a strong community.'”
Their biggest hurdle so far has been finding a space for Keystone Rampworks in the Wilkes-Barre area after getting turned down by a few landlords. They haven’t gotten discouraged, however, and neither have their contributors, who have raised $1,930 of their $125,000 goal so far. Rewards include skate park passes, t-shirts, stickers, and steel cups with the Rampworks logo on it. For every $15,000 raised, the entrance cost goes down $1, they noted.
The campaign page includes a full breakdown of costs, and on the future business’ Facebook page, they explained that if they hit 70 percent of their fundraising goal with a 20,000 square foot space, they plan to be open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. until 8 p.m. with all-day entry fees around $20, along with offering monthly passes, discounts, and family nights.
Additionally, the page gives more background on St. Pierre and Mushell:
Mikki started participating in community events at a young age in Massachusetts. Many were sports-related, but they also included, Girl Scouts, church events, LGBT rights, theater groups and local support for the community. She continues to participate in small local events in Pennsylvania and believes these communities are an important foundation for younger kids. Her skills as a business owner stem from 10+ years of management and supervisory positions with local employers in the food and hospitality industry.
Jeff is a freestyle BMX rider and a supporter of the local scene here in Wilkes-Barre, PA. He has been involved in the extreme sports community for over 15 years and believes having something local for riders is very important in keeping the community together. His skills as a business partner come from 10+ years in the trade industry as a floor foreman.
For years, local skateboarders have expressed the need for a large skate park in NEPA, and with a lack of area venues willing to host all-ages shows, Keystone Rampworks could be a major asset to the community and the scene overall if it takes off.