St. Marys Commits $15,000 to Design Expanded Skatepark

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Volunteers leading an effort to modernize the small but heavily used St. Marys skatepark have taken on a little more traction after receiving a helping hand from city hall this week.

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After backing a skatepark expansion in principle in late October, St. Marys will send out a request for design proposals and commit up to $15,000 to this stage of the project, local councilors unanimously decided Tuesday.

“I’m delighted,” volunteer Jean Alice Rowcliffe said afterwards. “Now we can go ahead with finding a design and it will help us a lot when fundraising because (people) will know what we are fundraising for. The community support up to present has been just wonderful given that we haven’t really kicked it off in a big way.”

Inspired in part by her late son James, Rowcliffe helped Quinn and Sullivan Bolton, her two scooter-loving neighbors, present improvements to the skatepark to city officials last fall. The positive reception they received has since helped them assemble a group of committed volunteers to raise approximately $250,000 for the project.

Although a full-fledged fundraising campaign is yet to come, the idea already seems to have generated a lot of interest in the community.

Darcy Drummond, the town’s director of recreation, told councilors on Tuesday that the Rotary Club of St. Marys has pledged to donate 0,000. The local Lions Club, a major contributor to the town’s original skatepark, has also expressed interest in supporting the improvements.

“To think that you’re already two-thirds of the way back without having a design is amazing,” the adviser said. said Jim Craigmile.

Local interest also goes beyond financial contributions. More than eight people have volunteered time on the committee, Rowcliffe said, including Scott LeBlanc, a local skateboard enthusiast who plans to open a new skate shop in April.

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“Every designer I spoke to said, ‘Once you’ve built a skatepark, a store follows shortly after.’ Here we have the shop before the park,” Rowcliffe said. “We have a great team in place.”

Volunteers recently launched an online survey to gather more information about what users would like to see in an expanded park. The group also visits local schools, Rowcliffe said, “so that we have a very broad picture of what the needs are then and how best to meet them”.

The successful candidate through the city’s request for proposals process will design and build the park, the council said. This decision should be made at the end of March.

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