AUGUSTA — A job at his father’s glass company brought Tobias Parkhurst back to central Maine after a career in professional skateboarding.

Parkhurst didn’t imagine he would become a landlord, or play a part in revitalizing downtown Augusta.

But he now owns two buildings on Water Street, and his work there — as well as at Oakes & Parkhurst Glass and with several civic organizations — has garnered him top recognition from the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce. The chamber will present Parkhurst, 33, with its 2012 Young Professional Award at a banquet later this month.

“He really has stimulated a good effort in downtown Augusta,” Chamber President and CEO Peter Thompson said. “It’s reflecting what’s been happening in the other downtowns as well.”

Parkhurst was born in Waterville and graduated from Maranacook Community High School. He spent six years skateboarding in competitions around the world before moving back to Maine in 2007.

His father, Richard Parkhurst, wanted to reduce his involvement at Oakes & Parkhurst, which he started with a partner in 1978 after leaving his teaching job.

Tobias Parkhurst couldn’t find an apartment he liked in the Augusta area, so when his father suggested he buy and renovate the building at 185 Water St., he went for it.

“It just seemed cool,” he said. “Plus, I could buy that building for a little more than I’d pay for rent.”

He has since bought 204 Water St. and is creating apartments on the upper floors, with exposed brick walls and original tin ceilings. He’ll move into the top floor when it’s finished.

Downtown Diner opened on the ground floor of the building in July. Owners Mike and Kim Meservey said they saw it as a great opportunity after operating the Bond Brook Pancake House on Mount Vernon Avenue for years.

Parkhurst had already done a lot of the groundwork by clearing out the building and installing a heating system, Mike Meservey said.

“So he did it right; he was very smart about that,” Meservey said. “He’s a very nice person who comes from a great family, and he’s very dedicated to what he’s doing down there. He’s great as a landlord and a regular customer.”

Richard Parkhurst has bought a Water Street building and also is creating apartments for residents who could support business in downtown.

Development in the area is gaining momentum thanks to engagement from many people, Tobias Parkhurst said.

He added that the city’s downtown has a lot going for it: A population of office workers and University of Maine at Augusta students, ample parking, attractive architecture and the riverfront.

“To me, the development of this street was inevitable,” he said.

Parkhurst became chief operating officer of Oakes & Parkhurst in October. The company once had seven offices around the state, but has contracted to a location in Manchester and the Stained Glass Express store in Waterville.

In spite of that, and stagnation in residential construction, sales are up.

“Business is good,” Parkhurst said. “Last year was our best year ever.”

Oakes & Parkhurst now does most of its work on large-scale commercial glazing projects. The company worked on six of the eight public schools built in the state last year.

Parkhurst also serves on boards and committees for the Augusta Parking District, Rotary Club of Augusta, United Way of Kennebec Valley and the Augusta Boys & Girls Club.

Parkhurst is also particularly proud of his work as chairman of the Augusta Skatepark Committee, which led efforts to build the Augusta Skatepark at Williams Playground on Bangor Street.

The second phase of park construction — a skating bowl — will be built this spring, Parkhurst said.

Susan McMillan — 621-5645

[email protected]


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