An enthusiastic group of about 40 people gathered at the future site of Nelson’s outdoor skatepark in Rosemont Wednesday morning as ground officially broke.
A round of applause followed a group photo commemorating the event that’s been a long time in the making.
“It’s a pretty monumental day,” said Chad Hansen, spokesman for the Kootenay Outdoor Skatepark Society looking around at the massive field at Art Gibbon Park. “We are building right here!”
Shovels finally hit the ground with many people helping along the way present. Members of city council, representatives from the Nelson and District Youth Centre and Nelson Police Department were among those on site along side kids who plan to make good use of the park.
Hansen also lauded the efforts of the Martin Group, Shambhala, Daybreak Rotary, the Lions Club, City of Nelson and the province. All are among the folks who helped make the “pipe dream” a reality, he said.
“We’re standing on the future ground of a skatepark that will enrich the lives of so many children in the community and enrich the lives of the whole community,” said Hansen.
The 15,000 square foot park will incorporate three main features: plaza, ditch run and bowl. It would also have terrain suitable for beginner, intermediate and advanced. It is being called an “all-wheel park” which means bikes and other wheeled activities would be welcome.
Josh Sullivan, a 16-year-old skateboarder who lives in Rosemont was thrilled to be included in the groundbreaking event.
“I am really excited to finally see some preparation going on it,” he said. “It’s really sweet to actually stand on the site and think we’re really going to have a skatepark here in a few short months.”
He loves the style of the park “made to replicate the streets,” “raw and natural.”
“I like the style,” he said. “It will push the kids to learn.”
Work on drainage for the site is underway with park construction coming next. Specialists will handle different stages and concrete work should be quite the site with rebar used to hold form.
New Line Skateparks has been working with the skateboard society since 2005 and the Vancouver-based company that’s built more than 200 parks worldwide will oversee the work.
The $600,000 park would be the biggest in the West Kootenay and boarders can expect to hit the pavement in late September.
“It’s going to be rad,” said Hansen. “It’s going to be the best park in the area.”
Rotary issues challenge to meet finally fundraising goal
Nelson’s Daybreak Rotary group has been instrumental in fundraising for the skate park and Sandra England issued a challenge in hopes of keeping money coming.
The service club promised the Kootenay Outdoor Skatepark Society $5,000 and offered up a challenge to other organizations, individuals and businesses to do the same.
“Every little bit helps to get the job done,” England said.
Club members were pleased to be on site for a ground-breaking ceremony held Wednesday morning.
“This is a wonderful opportunity,” England said. “We’ve been looking forward to this day for a long time. We want to see the park built and it to be the best park it can be.”
About $30,000 still needs to be raised.