Breathing room needed

The Kiwanis skate park opened to rave reviews earlier this fall—from both local skateboarders and a few of their counterparts from out-of-town who happened to be here at the time.
And it seemed to be a popular enough spot for the few weeks it was up and running before the snow flew.
Unfortunately, the committee which spearheaded its construction is now in a major pickle—having to raise $120,000 in four months to finish paying it off. Not exactly petty change, to be sure.
Given the dire situation, the committee appeared before town council Monday night to plead for some sort of contribution, or at least bridge financing which can be repaid on a longer-term basis.
Chairman Rob Tovey was correct in saying the committee was in “no position to negotiate” with council. On the other hand, the group is making a reasonable request for something the community wanted to see built for many years—and which has the potential to be a real asset for Fort Frances.
As well, it’s not that the committee was wasteful or careless, or built a “Cadillac” skate park. If anything, the dedicated group worked hard to scale the project back from its original $450,000 price tag.
The committee also is vowing to stay together until the final funds are raised.
Local residents already have contributed to the skate park’s construction—and obviously will have to continue to do so (not only to cover the original cost, but also upkeep down the road). And, in fact, the committee is still pushing its “Buy a Brick” campaign and is planning other fundraisers in the New Year.
Users also have to expect to contribute by paying some kind of fee.
In the meantime, though, the committee needs help—a lifeline council should give over the relatively short-term in order to provide a little breathing room. After all, closing down the park isn’t going to get the bill paid.

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