"This is about helping kids who don't get a lot of help," the country says of the charitable project
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Credit: Alan Poizner

Kip Moore usually favors cut-up T-shirts that show off his buff biceps. But standing in an empty lot with Nashville mayor Karl Dean on Wednesday to announce a new charitable project, he was wearing his heart on the sleeves of a plaid shirt.

The Comeback Kid Skatepark, which the country singer is helping to build, is named after one of the songs on his upcoming album Wild Ones. But that’s the only connection to his music, he says.

“This is not about selling records or tickets or my music career,” Moore, 35, told PEOPLE. “Skateboarding is not in the same world as country music, and that’s okay. This is about helping kids who don’t get a lot of help.”

The park for skateboarders is being built in Salemtown, a financially disadvantaged area of inner-city Nashville.

“Growing up, I spent more time on basketball courts, but my brother was a really good skateboarder, and I did it with him sometimes,” Moore said. “On the road I go to the local skateboard park. It’s a great way to get away from everything. Skateboarding is an individual sport, but it’s also a community. My hope is that this place provides a safe place for kids here. This has been a pipe dream of mine for a long time, and I’m really happy to see it come together.”

The project came together after Moore’s manager showed him a video from Salemtown Board Co., run by two brothers who build handcrafted skateboards and provide jobs to youth in Salemtown. Both saw an opportunity to work together.

Construction has begun on the park in Nashville, and three more in Boston, San Marcos, Texas, and Annapolis, Maryland. The Comeback Kid Skatepark Project is the first initiative of Kip’s Kids Fund, Moore’s charity focused on youth and teens.

Each park will use available space, range from 1,500 to 3,000 square feet and include elements like the quarter-pipe, bank-to-curb, hubba ledges, hand rail and step up. Moore says he’ll definitely stop by when he’s not on the road, but he won’t be doing any of the tricky stuff.

“I had to stop doing the half-pipe skating,” he said. “I had a really bad injury where I thought I broke my arm. I didn’t, but it was a reminder that my job really requires me to use both arms! Now I just chill on the long board, just cruise around and take it a little more easy. I’ll let the young kids show off the cool stuff.”

The Nashville park is expected to open in August, the same month that Wild Ones will be released. And Moore already has a new skateboard to take on the road with him when the Dierks Bentley tour kicks off this Friday – Salemtown Board Co. co-founder Will Anderson presented him with a custom-built board painted with the album’s logo.

“I see it also comes with a caution sticker,” Moore laughed. “I’ll definitely keep that on there!”